Bay Port student dies from complications caused by flu and strep B

HOWARD, Wis. (WBAY) – A Bay Port High School student died from complications caused by a mix of Influenza A and Strep B.

According to the Howard-Suamico School DistrictAva Schmidt died Wednesday. She was a freshman at Bay Port High School.

The district sent the following letter to the school community:

“Dear HSSD Families and Staff,

It is with deep sadness that we are sharing with you news of the death of a Bay Port High School student.

Ava Schmidt, a freshman at Bay Port High School, died today, Wednesday, December 21, due to complications caused by Influenza A. Ava is the daughter of Mike and Katerina Schmidt and the sister of Gabby, a seventh grader at Bay View Middle School. Katerina is a teacher at Forest Glen Elementary School.

The District respects the family’s request for privacy during this difficult time and is focused on providing support for those impacted by Ava’s passing.

School counselors and school social workers are available to help our students and staff cope with this loss. To support student needs we will have staff available at Bay Port or by phone at 920-662-7000 Thursday morning (regardless of potential weather impact on the school day). Classroom teachers at Bay Port, Bay View, and Forest Glen will share an age-appropriate message with students Thursday morning regarding this news. We encourage you to discuss this message with your child at home this evening.

We have some suggestions (linked here) that may prove helpful to you as you discuss grief and death with your child. Additionally, Unity Hospice is a non-profit grief counseling organization that will be supporting Ava’s classmates and our students as needed in the coming days, including during winter break.

If you have any concerns about your child’s reaction to this loss, please contact us.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ava’s family.”

A GoFundMe has been set up for Ava’s family.

Ava was the second pediatric influenza patient to die in Wisconsin this season.

DHS announced the first pediatric flu death earlier this week. They said the child lived on the western side of Wisconsin.

A pediatric death is defined as anyone under the age of 18.

DHS encourages everyone six months and older to get vaccinated against the flu. Early data shows the vaccine is a match to current strains. Vaccines can prevent or reduce the severity of flu symptoms, protecting not only yourself but the people around you, and that’s especially a concern with more holiday gatherings coming up. Two out of 3 people in Wisconsin have not received a flu shot.

“Those numbers are several percentage points lower than what we had last year, and it’s very disappointing to be honest with you. And this again is one of our meetings, going through media outlets, is really pushing the fact that we need to get people vaccinated. We need to do what we can to stop the spread of influenza. And we, unfortunately, have seen what the complications can lead to during because of this particular case, in this particular child,” DHS influenza surveillance coordinator Tom Haupt said.

You can find information on flu vaccines by calling 877-947-2211 or visiting the https://www.vaccines.gov/ website.

Local health officials say people should also try to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and RSV.

All three illnesses have the potential to be severe for young children, people who are immunocompromised, and older adults.

CLICK HERE for Wisconsin respiratory virus reports.

DHS recommends these additional steps to stay healthy this season:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth.
  • Stay home and away from others if you feel sick.
  • Avoid being around others who are sick or have flu symptoms.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and encourage children to do the same.
  • Wear a high-quality mask around others to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.

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