Health authorities in state might ask the government to extend the winter break for Valley schools in wake of swine flu spread, as another thirteen people have tested positive for the H1N1 virus here.
Two people have already died of the virus in the state, but fresh cases have taken the number of the affected to 84.
Head of department (HoD) of Medicine at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Parvaiz Kaul, told reporters that the thirteen patients have been kept in an intensive care unit and were being regularly monitored.
Schools in the Valley, which close every year in December in view of the harsh winter, are scheduled to open next week.
The health department may send an advisory to the education department should the number of swine flu patients rise further in the next few days.
SKIMS authorities say the number of people testing positive with the virus witnessed a spurt from January onwards, but added that patients had been coming in since October last year when pilgrims returned after performing Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
In order to reduce infection and segregate patients with respiratory infections, SKIMS has set up a separate out-patient department (OPD) at the attendants' sarai (inn) of the hospital.
In a statement, the hospital authorities said they have also installed a facility for collection of swabs of swine flu suspects at the centre itself.
The hospital has also made a six-bed intensive care unit (ICU) with two ventilators besides a 32-bed isolation ward. "More beds can be added if the need arises,'' the SKIMS statement said.
The statement said, only three persons are admitted in the main hospital building and one of them is on ventilator.