Forget the 1906 earthquake: The "Spanish Flu" which swept through Sonoma county in 1918  was the worst disaster to hit Sonoma county - or at least, since the smallpox epidemic  wiped out nearly everyone in the Pomo communities in 1837.

Our ancestors here were caught off-guard even though there was a month's notice that it was remarkably deadly and would inevitably reach Santa Rosa. From mid-September onwards the Press Democrat and Argus-Courier printed bad news every day. There were seventy deaths a day in New England. It was spreading rapidly through the Army camps in the East and Midwest; the number of soldiers and sailors infected doubled every few days - 23 thousand total, 42 thousand, then 14 thousand new cases in a single day. The military reported 112 dead, then 377, then 653. By the beginning of October the killing disease was now in almost all states.

They had no defense against this influenza, which usually resulted in a severe case of pneumonia. Although this was before the discovery of antibiotics, they could treat pneumonia with an antiserum (or "syrum," as the Press Democrat spelled it), but only if treated early. The patient also had to be in a hospital with a well-equipped lab, as a saliva sample had to be injected into a mouse to ID the type of bacteria. An effective vaccine was developed at this time, but only in limited quantities and after the peak of the pandemic.

The Spanish Flu reached Sonoma county around October 12. A highway crew working near modern-day Rohnert Park was rushed to hospitals in San Francisco. "There are already considerably more than one hundred cases receiving attention," reported the PD, but it's unknown if they were counting the 75 sick children at the Lytton Orphanage. Strike that; by the time the newspaper went to press there were 102 children ill. One of them was teenager Helen Grouel, who became the first person here to die because of it.

On October 18 Walter Reiman, a sailor on furlough to help his dad harvest grapes at their Windsor vineyard, died after being back only five days. As the incubation period for influenza is 2 to 7 days, he must have brought it home with him. Later that same evening his fiancée, Edith Olin, died as well.

While the PD and the A-C were trying to quell panic by reassuring readers this was a "mild" form of the flu, there was no denying that the crisis was now upon us. That same day all schools, churches, lodges and "places of amusements" were closed until further notice. By then there were 59 known influenza cases in Santa Rosa, with two more reported during the Santa Rosa Board of Health meeting. The Board further required on November 4 the wearing of gauze masks by everyone when in public - although the newspaper wryly noted that as the Supervisors voted to pass the ordinance, not one of them was wearing a mask.

The County Health Board already required masks to be worn by anyone infected or nursing someone sick, and before the ordinance the PD did its civic duty with many little items mentioning clerks and shopkeepers wearing masks, noting that everyone on the train up from San Francisco was wearing them, and so on. Still, there was resistance; twenty people were fined $5 for not wearing them after Nov. 4 and the paper noted in San Rafael "a number of people were arrested and were compelled to decorate the mahogany with five-dollar pieces in the recorder’s court." Some people wearing glasses were caught wearing the mask beneath their nose because their lenses fogged up (the PD printed tips on how to avoid this); others thought it was just unfashionable. District Attorney Hoyle said, "a mask may not add to your beauty, but a homely, living, useful citizen is better far than an unnecessarily sacrificed life, regardless of looks."

Given the ferocity of that flu it seems incomprehensible the Health Board waited almost three weeks to require masks in public, but the general knowledge level of preventative hygiene at the time seems shockingly poor. Never once was the importance of frequent hand-washing mentioned, although it had been recognized as a critical method to stopping the spread of disease for over a half century. Instead, the Board offered a mishmash of advice, including:

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  Avoid public gatherings of any kind and stay off the street

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  Do not cough, spit or sneeze promiscuously

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  Don’t attend funerals. Say it with flowers

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  Don’t visit your sick friends unless you can be of some material advantage to them

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  Don’t wait until in the night to call a physician. They are all being overworked and need all the regular rest they can get

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  Avoid coal oil heaters, with their noxious fumes

Likewise the advice on what to eat while sick is mostly the reverse of what we believe today. Dr. Adelaide Brown ("eminent woman physician of San Francisco, and member of State Board of Health") told the Press Democrat that the diet should be mostly milk, sugar and starch, no meat broth, no vegetables (unless pureed) and no fruit with fiber. "No other foods than those mentioned should be used. Do not experiment with the patient's digestion during the critical period." Notice there is no mention of the importance of keeping the patient well hydrated.

Lacking modern medicines, people turned to folk remedies and the Victorian-era pharmacopoeia. It appears they mostly nursed themselves as if it were just a really bad chest cold, but some treatments had antibacterial effects which might have saved lives - and others might have made their conditions worse, or even killed them.

Someone wrote to the PD to remark the late, esteemed Dr, William Finlaw said "there was no better remedy for those ailments" than camphor in a steam vaporizer. It was a sensible idea, but the correspondent added that "a smoker may crumble a piece of camphor gum the size of a pea, and mix it with the tobacco in a pipe, or cigarette," which is really not a good idea if you've got pneumonia.

Newspaper ads promoted camphor-based Vick's VapoRub to be used in a vaporizer, melted in a spoon and inhaled, or rubbed into the chest and back between the shoulder blades "until the skin is red...attracting the blood to the surface, and thus aids in relieving the congestion within." Never mind that in years earlier, physicians used that same basic argument to promote leeches.

Some drug stores sold atomizers which were to be filled with abietene, a kind of turpentine made specifically from California's native Gray Pine, and sprayed on the back of your throat and inhaled every ten minutes to prevent the flu (supposedly).

Dr. Bonar, the city health officer, specifically warned against quack cures and preventatives like that: "Don't be taking drugs. If ill, consult a physician. Gargles and nasal douches are of doubtful value, if not a real danger...Avoid all advertised cures." But that advice appeared only once in a Press Democrat article and not at all in the Petaluma newspapers - while local merchants bought large ads in every edition to peddle nostrums exactly like those.

In Petaluma, Schluckebier Hardware advertised Phenolene (caustic, poisonous carbolic acid) as a disinfectant to mop floors, pour down drains, spray under beds and then "put three drops in a tumbler of warm water, then gargle the throat and stuff it up the nose." Towne's Drug Store suggested "formaldehyde liberally yet judiciously used is most valuable," but did not say how it should be used. Today formaldehyde's recognized as causing bronchitis and pneumonia when inhaled with even small exposures, not to mention being a carcinogen.

Press Democrat, October 26, 1918



Press Democrat readers were assured the disease had "run its course in most Army camps" - hopefully showing not everyone would croak - but there was considerable fear in the days following the closures. The PD quoted a "well-known physician" saying "there is a lot of hysteria about now as well as influenza.” While this doctor and others interviewed were not named, they agreed this was a mild form of the flu. This was all propaganda; there were still 300+ deaths daily in the camps and not everyone here was taking the situation seriously. A few days later Earle E. Jamison died; he was the ticket agent of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in Santa Rosa and had constant contact with the public, yet once Earle caught the flu he had to remain on duty a "day or two" until replacement was found.

At the end of October - before the Board of Health made gauze masks mandatory - the District Attorney’s office announced the situation was so dire they were considering a quarantine of the entire county. It seems many of those urban dwellers who had summer cabins around the Russian River and elsewhere were fleeing up here to escape the epidemic raging in the cities:

...I have been informed that persons from the bay cities, fearful of the disease there, are rushing to the country resorts and are occupying cottages, built many of them in cool, damp places, and saturated with a two weeks' rain, which must necessarily endanger them to cold, and frequently to resulting pneumonia, whether they in fact have Spanish influenza or not. This should he stopped at once.


The news did not get better as October faded into November. There were 310 reported sick in Santa Rosa with deaths almost every day. The married daughters of Serafino Piezzi died four days apart and a double funeral was planned as soon as the rest of the family recovered themselves. Rocco Poncetta of the Hotel Italia de Unita (5 West Sixth st.) died at age 31; the PD commented he was "a man of strong and robust constitution," reinforcing the popular notion that the young and strong were most likely to die.

Then on November 5 came the most shocking news of all: There were 400 influenza cases at the Sonoma State Home - almost one-third of the institution's patients. A few days later it shot up to 500.

Now the Sonoma Developmental Center (at least, as of this writing), the Press Democrat still called it by its old name: The Sonoma State Home for the Care of the Feeble-Minded at Eldridge. The 1,400 patients there ranged from people needing custodial care because of severe cognitive issues to those suffering epilepsy; criminals deemed "feeble-minded" by someone in authority were sent there for indeterminate sentences as were some accused of anti-social behavior - see “SONOMA COUNTY AND EUGENICS“ for more background on the place in those days.

"Medical Superintendent Fred O. Butler M. D., and his staff of assistant physicians and the nurses and attendants are doing everything in their power for the stricken inmates," the PD reported, but they clearly were not following best medical practices for dealing with an epidemic. The next day 25 were reported dead. Four days later, another 24. Five days after that, the death toll was over 70. By the end of the month there were 85 dead.

It is maddening to read the day-to-day coverage of this crisis at Eldridge. Complete management of the situation was ceded to Dr. Butler; additional medical help was neither requested nor demanded. There was no talk of evacuation. There was no charitable outreach from the community. By contrast, a month earlier Santa Rosa and other towns had mobilized to help the Lytton Springs orphanage, with nurses rushing there to help, department stores donating blankets and bedding and businesses collecting donations to buy medicines. 

Petaluma Morning Courier, October 27, 1918


Aside from their appalling indifference to the Sonoma State Home situation, citizens of Santa Rosa rallied together to fight the epidemic as if it was just another part of their patriotic duty in those last months of WWI. The Red Cross Shop became like a command HQ, distributing food, medicine and many hundreds of masks sown by volunteers; nurses were dispatched; babies and small children with sick parents were placed in temporary homes. The elite Saturday Afternoon Club clubhouse on 10th st became a critical care hospital, handling 53 patients ("some of them the worst cases near Santa Rosa" - PD).

Finally, after three weeks of emergency measures, the tide began to turn shortly before Thanksgiving. The public library reopened and the mask order was lifted. All schools reopened.

But the good news was short lived. Influenza came roaring back after Christmas, with 243 new cases in San Francisco with 35 deaths. While there had been ongoing cases of flu in rural areas, in Santa Rosa masks were ordered on again because it had "returned to the towns."

This second wave proved just as severe and heart-breaking. In one week a toddler, mother and grandmother all died; Adeline Gray on January 9, 1919, her mother Julia Marsh two days later, and then 3 year-old Alice Gray on Jan. 16. They are buried together at the Calvary Cemetery.

Some schools reopened in the middle of January, with students and teachers wearing masks. On the 26th the mask ordinance was dropped again, although "it is highly advisable that masks be worn whenever one person approaches within ten feet of another." Theaters, pool rooms and lodges remained closed.

The epidemic was never declared over and lingered in Santa Rosa until the end of April. Obituaries as late as November of that year mentioned the person had contracted the Spanish flu and never recovered.

The official report of the Board of Health stated there were 67 deaths from influenza in Santa Rosa and 1,145 cases, although "many more cases were unreported or unrecognized." There were 87 flu deaths at the Sonoma State Home.

It's now understood that 9 out of 10 Spanish influenza victims died from pneumonia - that the flu stripped the inner lining from the bronchial tubes and lungs, which left the patient susceptible to infections. "In essence, the virus landed the first blow while bacteria delivered the knockout punch," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, when the definitive study was published in 2008.

Even factoring in pneumonia, a final tally proves elusive; remember Edith Olin, the young woman who died within hours of her fiance? She had tuberculosis and her cause of death was listed as such, even though there's little doubt that her death was hastened by his return to the area carrying the flu.

About 85 people are known to have died in Santa Rosa during the 1906 earthquake with another handful killed elsewhere in the county, but those numbers are also squishy; some remains were probably totally consumed by the fire and some people who were mortally wounded probably died elsewhere. Throw in a fudge factor and guesstimate the earthquake killed 120 in Sonoma county. But even without counting the pneumonia cases, the total influenza deaths in Santa Rosa combined with the Sonoma State Home remains higher. Even with the joy of the war ending, those were very dark days.

Ed Heald wearing influenza mask. Photo: Sonoma County Library




INFLUENZA CONTINUES TO SPREAD
Malady Has Now Reached Practically All Parts of Country, and Is Epidemic in Western and Pacific Coast States — Movie Releases Stopped.

Washington, Oct. 9 - Spanish influenza now has spread to practically every part of the country. Reports today to the Federal Health Service shows the disease is epidemic in many western and Pacific Coast states as well as in almost all regions east of the Mississippi river. Its spread also continues in army camps. The number of new cases reported being greater than on the day before.

 The disease is reported from many parts of California, while in Texas the malady has been reported from 77 counties, with a number of cases varying from one to 4,000 in each county...

...The National Association of Motion Picture Industries decided at a meeting here tonight to discontinue all motion picture releases after October 16, because of the epidemic of Spanish Influenza. The embargro will remain in force until further notice, it was announced by Wm. A. Brady, president of the association.

- Press Democrat, October 10 1918



DOCTORS OF THREE STATES ARE MOBILIZED

Mobilization of all the doctors of California, Nevada and Arizona to combat the epidemic of Spanish influenza were ordered today by the U. S. Public Health Service, It was announced here by Dr. W. G. Billings, sanitary officer of the service for California and Nevada. The public was warned by Dr. Billings to avoid picture shows, churches and all other places of assemblage until the epidemic was passed.

- Press Democrat, October 10 1918



SPREADS IN CALIFORNIA

The total number of Spanish influenza cases in California has reached the four thousand mark, according to the State Board of Health.

- Argus-Courier, October 12 1918



INFLUENZA HAS APPEARED HERE

More Than a Dozen Cases Reported in Santa Rosa and the Immediate Vicinity Monday Night—State Highway Camp Near Wilfred Station Suffers: Spray Your Throat and Nostrils and Keep Away From Crowds.

Spanish Influenza secured a hold in Sonoma county over Sunday and according to reports made to the county health officer there are already considerably more than one hundred cases receiving attention.

The Golden Gate Industrial Farm and Orphanage at Lyttons reported 75 children in bed with the malady Monday morning. By night the number of cases there had increased to 102, as stated in another column.

Half a dozen or more men working in the State highway camp on the Cotati boulevard near Wilfred were also reported down with the disease. Some of these have been removed to Santa Rosa hospitals, while others were rushed to San Francisco for treatment. By prompt isolation of every case and early detection of the malady in schools throughout the county it is hoped to keep it within bounds; but every family should take unusual care to prevent exposure. Children should he kept off the streets as much as possible. Avoid crowds wherever you can.

Physicians state that best thing to do after possible exposure is to spray the throat and nostrils with a solution of 10 per cent argyrol, or some other good disinfectant.

According to reports by local physicians Monday evening more than a dozen cases of the malady exist in Santa Rosa and the immediate vicinity.

- Press Democrat, October 15 1918



132 CASES OF INFLUENZA AT LYTTONS; HELEN GROUL DIES
Public Responds With Needed Assistance When Informed
Orphanage Now Transformed Into a Hospital - Urgent Need Exists for More Nurses, Bed Clothing, and Money With Which to Buy Medicines — Local Branch of Red Cross Interests Itself in the Matter

Death invaded the Lytton Springs Orphanage yesterday, when Helen Groul, whose critical illness was reported in these columns Tuesday morning, closed her eyes in the long last sleep. She is the first victim to be claimed in this county by the dreaded Spanish influenza, which is now raging everywhere and has the Lytton Orphanage tightly within its grasp.

"Thirty-one new cases developed here today,” said Captain S. Charles Isaacs, now in charge of the orphanage at Lytton, when interviewed by a Press Democrat representative last night over the long-distance phone. "One hundred and thirty-two of our children are now down with the scourge. We have two hundred and twenty-three children here at the present time." Yesterday there were two hundred and twenty-four; today there are only two hundred and twenty-three!

What will it be tomorrow?

Public Responds to Call

The sad news from Lyttons published in these columns Tuesday morning met with an instant response in the hearts of the thousands of Santa Rosans, and offers of assistance soon began to come in. The first report of money being collected came from the employees of the Santa Rosa Poultry Association and Egg Exchange, where a hurried collection was taken and the sum of $11 sent to this office. The Press Democrat added $5 to the above amount, and last night Manager J. J. Fitzgerald of the Poultry Association walked into the office with another bunch of coin and left it here to be forwarded to the orphanage today. The list of donors is as follows...

- Press Democrat, October 16 1918


PLEDGED PAIR NEAR IN DEATH
Well Known Young Auditor for Proctor Bros. Succumbs to White Plague Last Night, Following Death of Her Fiance a Few Hours Earlier.

Miss Edith Olin, for the past six years auditor for the Proctor Bros., died at the home of Mrs. Jane M. Emperor. 421 College avenue, last night about 9:30, after a few weeks' illness. Death was due to consumption.

Miss Olin came here seven years ago from Orfino, Idaho, where she had been residing with an aunt since the death of her parents. The aunt is her only living relative...

...Walter Reiman, who enlisted in the U. S. Navy some time ago. died Friday at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Reiman, near Windsor, after a brief illness with influenza. The young man secured a furlough and came home last Sunday to assist his father gather the grape crop, and was taken ill a few days later.

Mr. Reiman was the fiance of Miss Edith Olin, who died later in the evening, and news of his death, coming a few hours before that of his fiance, is an occurrence as remarkable as it is sad.

- Press Democrat, October 19 1918



DON’T GET SCARED IS THE ADVICE OF LOCAL PHYSICIAN
Statement Last Night That the Cases of Influenza Here So Far Are of a Mild Form—People Advised to Be Careful, But Not to Become Hysterical.

‘Tell the people not to get hysterical,” said a well-known physician last night to a Press Democrat representative. “It's good advice to give people, believe me, for there is a lot of hysteria about now as well as influenza.”

Another physician stated that out of all the cases he has under his care, all of them are light, with the exception of a single pneumonia case.

Other physicians were seen and they agreed that the influenza here is of a mild form to date. They agreed that people should take care of themselves, but there is no occasion for alarm if care is taken.

- Press Democrat, October 23 1918



INFLUENZA WORSE OUTSIDE OF CITY
More New Cases Reported From the Rural Section Than Within City Limits — Epidemic at Standstill Within City at the Present, According to Reports

While the number of cases of Spanish influenza reported to the city health office shows no increase for the previous 24 hours, the number of cases reported to local physicians increased and from all accounts the country surrounding town is suffering worse now than the city.

Only 12 new cases were reported to the city health office up to 5 o’clock last night, although it is known other cases have developed in town which will he reported this morning. The total to date at the same hour was 396 for the city with only two deaths known to be directly caused from pneumonia caused by influenza.

The most of the deaths resulting from the disease are from out-of-town and it is believed this is due to the fact that those residing in town are being more prompt in calling in a physician and take no chances, while the country people try to wear it off, a very serious matter in the case of influenza, and almost sure to result seriously, if not fatally.

- Press Democrat, October 30 1918



MAY QUARANTINE COUNTY AGAINST THE INFLUENZA
District Attorney Issues Appeal to Residents to Take Necessary Precautions to Protect Themselves and Others From Dreaded Epidemic.

The District Attorney’s office has been aroused by the large number of fatal cases of Spanish influenza and pneumonia throughout the rural section of Sonoma county and will take steps to protect the residents unless they take the necessary precautions for themselves voluntarily. In a statement Wednesday, Mr. Hoyle suggested the possibility of a general quarantine of the county against outside districts pending an improvement of conditions in other parts of the state. He said:

For more than three weeks last past so-called Spanish influenza has been prevalent in Sonoma county. During that time many of our valuable citizens have suffered from the malady, and several have passed to the Great Beyond, as a direct result of the dread disease, from resulting pneumonia or otherwise. It is the nature of the disease to leave one in a weakened condition, thereby making the patient susceptible to any disease for which the weakened condition makes an opening. A cold creates just such an opening and pneumonia results. Other diseases follow instead of pneumonia as the condition of the patient may make one susceptible...

...I have been informed that persons from the bay cities, fearful of the disease there, are rushing to the country resorts and are occupying cottages, built many of them in cool, damp places, and saturated with a two weeks' rain, which must necessarily endanger them to cold, and frequently to resulting pneumonia, whether they in fact have Spanish influenza or not. This should he stopped at once.

Unless the public takes the necessary and proper steps immediately for stamping out the disease, I shall call upon the state health officers for a strict general quarantine of the county.

If you are afflicted, stay inside until you have fully recovered, exercising every precaution to prevent the spread of the disease. If you have thus far escaped, use every precaution to avoid it. A mask may not add to your beauty, but a homely, living, useful citizen is better far than an unnecessarily sacrificed life, regardless of looks.

Yours for the public welfare, G. W. Hoyle, District Attorney.

- Press Democrat, October 31 1918


25 INFLUENZA DEATHS AT SONOMA STATE HOME

Inquiry over the long distance telephone to the Sonoma State Home at Eldridge last night as to the influenza cases in the institution elicited the information that since the epidemic broke out there had been twenty-four deaths among inmates and Mrs. Markee, one of the attendants, died yesterday. A number of the cases had developed into pneumonia.

 Among those who are suffering from influenza are the woman physician, Dr. Thorne, and Supervisor Johnson. Both their cases are slight. Secretary R. Q. Wickham stated last night.

 "There are over four hundred cases of influenza here and we have had twenty-four deaths to date among the inmates, and, this afternoon one of the attendants, Mrs. Markee, died. Otherwise the other sick ones seem to be getting better," stated Mr. Wickham over the phone.

 Medical Superintendent Fred O. Butler, M. D., and his first assistant, Dr Whittington, have been working night and day with the patients, and prior to her sickness Dr. Thorne was constantly in attendance day and night. The physicians and the nurses and attendants have been doing loyal and efficient work for main hours day and night since influenza became epidemic. Everything possible is being done for the sick and to safeguard the inmates and protect those as yet not stricken with the illness. There are nearly fourteen hundred inmates in the Sonoma State Home.

- Press Democrat, November 6 1918


EMPHATIC DONTS FOR INFLUENZA
City Health Officer Makes Suggestions to General Public for Prevention of Infection and to Aid in Restricting Epidemic.

"There ia no doubt but that we are in the midst of a very interesting epidemic which will have extended and far reaching results. The climatic conditions here are ideal for its spread," declared R. M. Bonar, the new city health officer, yesterday, after having heard from most of the physicians of the city and getting reports of 25 new cases of influenza for the day. This brings the total cases to date to over 355.

With the view of giving as much assistance as possible in preventing the further spread of the malady. Dr. Bonar makes suggestions and urges upon the general public adaption of the following rules:

Don’t attend funerals. Say it with flowers.

Don’t travel. If you must, use your own conveyance. The closed railway coach is the best place In the world to become infected as many sick are traveling, spreading the disease.

 Don’t visit your sick friends unless you can be of some material advantage to them, and then wear a gauze mask.

  Don't be taking drugs. If ill, consult a physician. Gargles and nasal douches are of doubtful value, if not a real danger. The wash is on the throat or nose only a few moments being quickly carried away by the natural secretions. If used too strong or frequently they may impair the delicate membranes, making the person more susceptible to infection. Avoid all advertised cures.

Do not allow children to associate with those having the malady in the house. Under no clrcumstances allow a well person to sleop with one ill with influenza.

Keep in the open air. Avoid unusual fatigue and over eating and wear a mask of six layers. Bacteria cannot penetrate gauze. Don’t use antiseptic of any kind on mask, and wash dally, boiling it.

Don’t wait until in the night to call a physician. They are all being overworked and need all the regular rest they can get.

- Press Democrat, November 6 1918



MALADY TAKES ON NEW LEASE

Despite the precautions being taken, there has been an increase of Spanish Influenza cases this week in Santa Rosa, with eight new cases reported Monday and ten yesterday. The new eases in many instances are in families where it had prevailed previously.

 One mother was reported down with her four children yesterday, but they are all doing as well as could be expected and are being given the best of care.

 The city health officer urges all to comply with the mask ordinance and take all necessary precaution against spreading the malady and hold it in check. There can be no release from masks while there is so many new cases being reported.

- Press Democrat, November 13 1918



INFLUENZA NOW IS DECREASING
Santa Rosa Has Had 462 Cases Since October 18, When First Case Was Reported, While Total Deaths in Entire Suburban District Totals 37 for Period.

With six new cases of Spanish influenza reported Saturday, the total in Santa Rosa since the first outbreak, October 18, has reached 462. In the same period there has been 37 deaths in the district which includes Russian River township and the country to the east as far as Glen Ellen, but not the Sonoma Home at Eldrldge.

 While all indications point to a gradual falling-off in the epidemic in Santa Rosa, there has been a flare-up owing, it is believed, to carelessness resulting from the patriotic demonstration Monday. It is hoped the improvement will continue during the coming week, and if so some of the more stringent regulations can be released.

 The San Francisco theaters were all opened Saturday and each played to standing room. The churches will be open today, but the mask is still retained and insisted upon for all attending gatherings. The San Jose State Normal will resume November 25, when the San Francisco schools will reopen, by which time masks will be discarded.

- Press Democrat, November 13 1918


STRONG TAKEN - THE WEAK LEFT
Epidemic Is Still in Force at the Sonoma State Home, Where Over Fifty Deaths Have Occurred to Date — Most Fatalities Among High Grade Inmates.

They are battling with the epidemic of influenza at the Sonoma State Home for the Feeble-Minded. So far over fifty deaths have occurred to date and there are scores of inmates still down with the disease. The physicians and nurses and other attendants have had a hard task to perform for several weeks in ministering to so many of the sick.

A singular feature of conditions at the State Home is that the deaths have occurred among the strongest and highest grade inmates, both as regard boys and girls and the low grades have suffered little. Among those who have died were many boys and girls who were able to help about the institution and in the grounds.

- Press Democrat, November 14 1918



THE QUARANTINE IS ENFORCED

The quarantine for influenza has been put in force in this city by the Health Board and the yellow signs with the word "influenza" prominently displayed, are already noticed on a number of homes here.

- Argus-Courier, November 25 1918



85 DEATHS TOLL AT STATE HOME
Epidemic Is Subsiding and New Cases Are Among Girls — Eighty of the Dead Were Males - Secretary Wickham Visitor Here.

Secretary R. Q. Wickham was in town from the Sonoma State Home on Monday.

From Secretary Wickham it was learned that the epidemic had carried off by death eighty-five inmates.

He says there have been over five hundred cases of influenza at the institution and of the eighty-five deaths about five were girls, all the others being boys, youths and men.

At the present time, Mr. Wickham states, there are a number of cases, the illness having crossed to the quarters occupied by the girls, but no serious conditions are expected now.

Mr. Wickham paid a high compliment to the untiring labors of Medical Superintendent Fred O. Butler, Physician Whittington and Dr. Thoren, the woman physician, and the nurses and attendants who worked night and day in nursing and administering to the sick. "I tell you they ail stood up nobly "under the strain,” said Mr. Wickham.

- Press Democrat, November 26 1918



BAN PLACED ON DANCIN6 HERE UNTIL FURTHER ORDER

In an effort to check any further outbreaks of influenza the City Health Officer Thursday evening issued an order forbidding all public and private dances until further notice in Santa Rosa.

The Health Officer said it is generally recognized that dancing is one of the most successful ways of spreading influenza owing to the dancers being in such close contact that they cannot help inhaling each other’s breath and passing the germs.

Already eight cases, it is said, have been traced to two young men who visited a dance here recently from an outside town while ill and spread the malady.

- Press Democrat, December 20 1918



Clubhouse Opened as Emergency Hospital

The good women of the Red Cross made another noble response on Saturday to the demands of care for sick women and children and by night Saturday the Saturday Afternoon Club’s clubhouse on Tenth street was opened as an emergency hospital. Mention has been made of the shortage of nurses and it was with the idea of caring for many of those who are sick that the clubhouse was opened as a hospital. The clubhouse during the day was fitted up with cots and all other arrangements were made for the reception of the patients. It is a nice, cosy place, and it is mighty fortunate for some of the sick women and children of the town and neighborhood that such a place and such excellent care was available. Several patients were taken to the emergency hospital Saturday night.

- Press Democrat, December 29 1918



STRANGER ARRIVES IN TOWN WITH INFLUENZA

The county health officer was called to a local hotel yesterday to see a man who was ill. An examination showed that he was suffering from influenza, having arrived Thursday night, circulated about the hotel during the even[ing] and had been out during the morning for breakfast and about the street before giving up and going to bed.

The man was removed to a hospital and last night he had developed pneumonia and his fever was 104 degrees and his condition was considered critical. How many were exposed to the influenza through contact with this man is unknown, but it is such cases which has caused the necessity for holding the masks as a protective measure.

- Press Democrat, January 25 1919

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