Governor Riley Urges Caution and Common Sense, Not Panic on Swine Flu
MONTGOMERY - Governor Bob Riley on Thursday released the following statement concerning swine flu and its likely impact on Alabama:
"Several state officials, including State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson and State Superintendent Dr. Joe Morton, met with me this morning to review recent developments in Alabama regarding swine flu. Alabamians are understandably concerned about swine flu and should be, but no one should be panicked. We are very encouraged that all confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States at this time are no more severe than regular seasonal influenza.
"With reports of confirmed cases coming in from other states and countries, it is not surprising that we have probable cases in Alabama. Out of an abundance of caution, we are operating under the assumption that we will have confirmed swine flu cases in our state.
"Alabamians can be assured that state and local governments are taking every action and necessary precaution to protect them and their families. We have been preparing for such a situation and - in fact - we rehearsed our response plan to an influenza pandemic with all our agencies in just the past few weeks.
"So I want citizens to know their state has prepared, but we need their help. We need Alabamians to act with concern but not with alarm. We need them to heed advice from health officials. We also need them to practice some common sense:
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid being near people who are ill
- If you are sick, stay home from work or school
- Cover your cough with a tissue
- Keeps hands away from your face
"Alabamians can also reduce their own risk by avoiding non-essential public gatherings. If citizens want to reduce their risk, we urge them to take these actions and avoid large crowds when possible. Obviously, people with symptoms of influenza should not attend public gatherings, go to work or attend school.
"At this time, there is no need to order any other school closings or to cancel any public events. If this evolving situation changes and there is a need to take such actions, Alabamians will quickly be informed.
"Panic is not helpful. Caution is. That means Alabamians need to exercise common sense to avoid the illness."