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WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. is declaring a public health emergency to deal with the emerging new swine flu.
The precautionary step doesn't signal a greater threat to Americans. But it allows the federal and state governments easier access to flu tests and medications.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napilotano says roughly 12 million doses of the drug Tamiflu are being released from a federal stockpile so that states can get it if needed.
Napilotano said at a White House news conference Sunday that the emergency declaration is standard operating procedure—one was recently declare for the inauguration and for flooding.
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Foxwire: Obama golfs, HHS has no Secretary, Swine flu response ramped-up
WASHINGTON -- With President Obama golfing and without a Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, the administration ramped up efforts to find and isolate U.S. cases of swine flu as it issued a public health emergency warning and moved millions of doses of drugs to treat the flu close to the areas of early outbreak.
At a White House briefing occuring while Obama golfed with his Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, announced the nation's top health department would soon announce a national "public health emergency." Napolitano said the move was designed to increase preparations to combat and isolate swine flu, not to create public alarm. She said such health emergencies had recently been issued to deal with flooding in Minnesota and North Dakota and for Obama's inaugration.
Ordinarily, such an announcement would have come from the Secretary of Health and Human services. But Obama's nominee, Kathleen Sebelius, awaits Senate confirmation this week.