Schwarzenegger Declares State Of Emergency Over Swine Flu
The Los Angeles County coroner's office were investigating the recent deaths of two men for links to swine flu and determined that one of the deaths was not tied to the outbreak. Test results from the second death were pending.
Los Angeles Coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey told the Los Angeles Times that a hospital in Bellflower reported the death of a 33-year-old Long Beach man who was brought in Saturday with symptoms resembling Swine flu.
The other death was a 45-year-old La Mirada man who died April 22 at a Norwalk hospital.
Coroner's Capt. John Kades said the bodies were being tested but that there has been no confirmation the disease killed them. He offered no other details about the men. One case was confirmed to not have been Swine flu.
The Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site that both men's deaths were reported to the coroner's office on Monday.
Meanwhile, results were pending Tuesday to determine if a woman and her daughter who became ill after returning from a trip to Mexico will be listed as Los Angeles County's first confirmed swine flu cases.
The woman's daughter attends Claremont's Our Lady of the Assumption School, which will be closed Tuesday.
She and her mother became ill over the weekend, four days after they returned from Mexico, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials.
"The school maintenance staff is in the process of cleaning the school's communal areas, including the school auditorium, the affected student's classroom and rest rooms," the diocese said.
Health officials report that the number confirmed cases is 13 statewide.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Tuesday that will help California agencies coordinate efforts in response to the outbreak of swine flu.
The proclamation sets in motion a series of administrative actions, including ordering all agencies to coordinate with public health officials as needed.
The action also suspends noncompetitive bidding for contracts needed to respond to the outbreak and waives certification requirements for laboratories involved in the testing.
In proclaiming the emergency, Schwarzenegger also cautioned that "there is no need for alarm."
The Republican governor said his priority was to limit the swine flu's spread as quickly as possible.
The other confirmed cases in the United States are in New York, Texas, Ohio and Kansas, and most are mild, but one person was hospitalized with complications, according to published reports.
No U.S. deaths had been reported as of Tuesday morning.
The disease is most prevalent in Mexico, where about 2,000 people have
developed influenza and more than 150 have died, 26 of them confirmed as of Tuesday morning to have been swine flu sufferers.
Cases of swine flu also have been confirmed in Canada, Scotland and Spain.
Local public health officials said they were certain swine flu is already present in Los Angeles County, even though no cases had been confirmed as of Monday.
"It's here. Just a matter of time," said Dr. Laurene Mascola, director of the county Department of Public Health's Acute Communicable Disease Control.
Dr. Bonnie Sorensen, chief deputy director of the California Department of Public Health, said the disease "has been fairly mild, and like any influenza season, we expect this to last for weeks. As we move along and find out more about this virus, our activities and our responses will change."
Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health,
said about one-fourth of the federal stockpile of five million courses of vaccines targeting the disease have been sent to Sacramento for possible distribution to local jurisdictions if needed.
As early as Tuesday, about 625,000 courses of antiviral medication could
be made available to Los Angeles County, adding to the current county stockpile of 49,000, said Dr. Alonzo Plough, director of the Los Angeles County Public Health Emergency Response.
An additional 1.8 million courses in state and federal reserves could potentially also be made available to the county, he said.
Physicians say that the antiviral treatments should not be taken as a
preventative measure, but rather in consultation with a doctor if a patient is
suffering from flu-like symptoms.
Taking such drugs as Tamiflu and Relenza if not needed, could make the virus drug-resistant, doctors said.
"The bottom line is that we are prepared," according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said officials have activated the joint emergency operations center -- a joint effort involving the state public health department and the California Emergency Management Agency.
Swine flu is usually transmitted to humans by pigs, but public health officials said they were concerned about the possibility of a pandemic because the new strain appears to be spreading from human to human.
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