Published April 28, 2009
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Tuesday to respond to the swine flu outbreak as two fatalities in Los Angeles were being investigated for possible links to the virus.
The Los Angeles County coroner's office ruled out swine flu as the cause of one those deaths. Cororner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said Tuesday that swine flu was not found in a La Mirada man. Winter says lab testing is pending in the case of a Long Beach man but swinefule is not not suspected.
The governor's office said the declaration was not sparked by the deaths of two men but in part because California was the first U.S. state to confirm a case of the H1N1 virus.
The declaration is accompanied by a request for federal funds to cover enactment of emergency "services, materials, personnel and equipment to supplement extraordinary preventive measures being taken across the state."
The state of emergency comes as President Obama requested Congress approve $1.5 billion in supplemental funds to "enhance capability" to address the spread of the outbreak, including the development of anti-viral stocks.
The governor's office said state health officials are working closely with the federal government and local health partners to find measures to reduce the virus' spread and a wider impact on the state.
California's proclamation orders all state agencies and departments to assist the Department of Public Health enact the state emergency plan coordinated by the California Emergency Management Agency. It suspends bids for contracts to perform services like lab testing and analysis.
In making the declaration, Schwarzenegger announced that the state now joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in conducting its own testing of virus samples obtained from patients with symptoms resembling the swine flu.
Los Angeles Coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey told the Los Angeles Times that a hospital in Bellflower, Calif., 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, Calif., hospital.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.