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State Dept. of Health Confirms Westfield Teen's Death Flu-Related

Mark Hollaway, 14, died Wednesday, Jan. 16.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has confirmed that the death Westfield resident Mark Hollaway, 14, is flu-related.

The Health Department issued the following message Friday afternoon:

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has confirmed that the January 16th passing of a Westfield teen is influenza related. The Town mourns this heartbreaking loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to the teen’s family.

While a severe case of the flu can be life-threatening, please be assured that this was an isolated case.  The Westfield Board of Health, in conjunction with the School District’s nursing staff and Superintendent of Schools, is carefully monitoring school attendance for any signs of increased absenteeism due to the flu. At this time, there is no increase in absenteeism that would suggest a high flu activity in the schools. Please be assured that the schools are taking appropriate preventative measures such as washing surfaces with special soap, providing hand sanitizers throughout the school facilities, and teaching the students to wash their hands frequently, sneeze and cough into a tissue or sleeve, and not to share food or drinks.

The New Jersey Department of Health continues to report high flu activity throughout New Jersey, including Union County. With flu season being only half over, the best tool you have to protect yourself and your family is to receive an influenza vaccination. While the Westfield Regional Health Department has exhausted its supply of flu vaccine, you can use the following websites to locate availability of flu shots: Find a Flu Shot Locator, and www.minuteclinic.com.

If you or your child develops flu-like symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible for guidance.  There are medications to treat infection with the flu. These medications work best when started within 48 hours of symptoms. 

In addition to your physician’s guidance, if you or your child have flu-like symptoms, the Westfield Regional Health Department recommends the following:

  • Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medication. 
  • Stay away from others, especially the very young and seniors, to avoid making others sick.
  • Take any medications your doctor prescribes.

For more information about the flu, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/.

Hollaway's death is the third pediatric flu-related fatality in the state this season. Friends of the Westfield High School freshman set up a Facebook page, RIP Mark Hollaway, in his memory.  

Time For Change January 19, 2013 at 01:56 AM
would you come on! Why is everything the "towns" fault or the "BOE's" fault. Take some damn responsibility. Would you prefer that the schools had no attendance policy so your little darlings could do whatever they wanted to? Use your judgement if your kid is sick.
Time For Change January 19, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Think about the poor kid that passed away and nothing else right now.
South Westfielder January 19, 2013 at 02:17 PM
This is one time when stealing monikers has gone too far on The Patch and has reached the point of going well beyond appropriateness and into disgusting. I am disturbed that monikers I have had to change twice because others who have disagreed with my posts have gotten even has been used in this way.
Sami January 19, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Seriously? A kid died.... And your response is to blame obamacare? Get over yourself and show some respect for the family... This isn't a political issue
Rhon A January 20, 2013 at 03:47 AM
I know the family personally. Be respectful that a mother has lost her only child. So the take some responsibility is completely inappropriate. If it was your child is that what you would want to hear? A mother will do whatever she can for her child but it is always in God's hands for the final say, not up to some policy or some implied misjudgement by ignorant people. The focus is the life that was lost too soon! HAVE SOME RESPECT! -RAA, VA

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