California Braces For More Swine Flu Cases

In California, there are 11 confirmed cases of swine flu. State officials are bracing for an increase in that number. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says the infrastructure established a few years ago to handle the SARS scare will allow California to respond to whatever happens.

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KAREN GRIGSBY BATES: I'm Karen Grigsby Bates in Los Angeles.

California trails New York in confirmed swine flu cases. But with Mexico at its back door, the state is bracing for a bigger outbreak. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says the infrastructure established a few years ago to handle the SARS scare will allow California to respond to whatever happens.

Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (Republican, California): We have seen some cases all over the United States. We are monitoring this outbreak minute by minute, and we are working aggressively to slow the swine flu spread in California.

GRIGSBY BATES: Most of California's confirmed cases are in two border areas, San Diego and Imperial counties. But health officials worry the flu could travel across the state and spread in places like schools. Dr. Kim Uyeda heads student medical services for L.A.'s public schools.

Dr. KIM UYEDA (Director of Student Medical Services, Los Angeles Unified School District): We have a cadre of school nurses as well as school personnel who are monitoring our schools and making sure that we understand whether or not students are absent for illness-type reasons or simply absent.

GRIGSBY BATES: There's also concern about the heavy travel that occurs daily between California and Mexico. LAX alone has 45 daily flights from Mexican cities. So now, airport bathrooms are sanitized every half hour, says Michael Molina, from Los Angeles World Airports. And…

Mr. MICHAEL MOLINA (Senior Director of Government Affairs, Los Angeles World Airports): Today, we've installed 150 hand-sanitizer dispensers throughout the terminals.

GRIGSBY BATES: California's airports remain open to Mexican travelers, as does the state's southern border.

Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR News.

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