First and second waves – need for isolation
The epidemic came in waves, first in July 1918, with the first case registered on 22 July. After a few days 50–60 people had fallen ill across the entire fishing hamlet. Not until eight days later did the epidemic reach the nearest hamlets of Haugnes, Fiskenes, Skarstein and Bleik. This initial period appeared to pass without any deaths in the local community (6). However, the first deaths occurred already on 16 and 17 August. This happened in Bø, where a 43-year-old woman and her one-year-old daughter died within one day of each other.
Later, in September a more virulent form appeared, causing more deaths. The local Andøyposten newspaper wrote about it on 4 October 1918: 'The Spanish flu appears even here to be spreading to an ominous degree. Not so many deaths are reported to have occurred here, but quite a lot of people are said to be ill, both here in town (Andenes) and in the hamlets. To date, the board of health has closed the various meeting-houses, and it is not unlikely that the schools will also have to be closed.'
On 11 October 1918, the newspaper writes: 'The Spanish flu is now raging quite furiously. In virtually every home there is illness, and not a few deaths.'
18 October: 'The situation regarding the Spanish flu has improved somewhat here in town, but it continues to rage in the hamlets, especially at Bjørnskinn, where many deaths have occurred over a short time, especially among women' ((5)).
In October, the board of health banned most public arrangements; exceptions were made only for the schools and 'regular divine service'. About the fact that the schools were not closed, the local GP Krogstad writes: 'The fact that the schools were not closed was because there were relatively few cases of the disease in children'. However, on 12 December that year, the school at Andenes was also closed. The school records for that year state: 'The board of health ordered the school to close by Christmas' (6).