State tracks swine flu in California

The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed 11 cases of swine flu in California - and it's investigating seven more. State officials say all the cases have been mild and everyone who caught the flu is recovering. That doesn't mean California's in the clear. KPCC's Julie Small reports state officials have taken more precautions to fight the spread of "swine flu."

Julie Small: First of all, Governor Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency over the swine flu.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: What this basically does is it gives us some extra tools for our health authorities in order to respond very quickly. It also will cut through red tape so that all state agencies will have to go help the Department of Public Health in every way possible.

Small: California also acquired new lab equipment from the CDC. Now state public health doctors can test swine flu viral samples here instead of sending them to federal labs out of state.

Mark Horton: Presently we can test up to 100 samples a day. Small: Mark Horton directs the California Department of Public Health. He says the lab will help the state keep closer tabs on swine flu as it moves through California over the next two months.

Horton: We are concerned and paying attention to this very, very closely. We want to stay ahead of the issues and ensure that we are doing all that we can to appropriately monitor the situation and taking appropriate steps based on information we get. So we're concerned.

Small: Public Health sent some of the nearly 5-and-a-half-million doses of antiviral medicine and equipment to counties. Doctors can prescribe that medicine to patients they suspect have swine flu – or were exposed to it.

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