LI officials coordinate efforts against swine flu

Local, county and state officials are ramping up efforts to prevent the spread of swine flu as more probable cases are reported on Long Island.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization raised its influenza alert from 4 to 5, which is one level below a full-blown pandemic. That announcement has Long Island hospitals, school districts and government officials advising the public on how to stay healthy and safe.
?We are trying to get the word out that this is something that we need to be on top of, but certainly not at the point of panic,? Dr. Steven Walerstein, of Nassau University Medical Center, tells News 12 Long Island.
Signs are on NUMC hospital doors reminding potential sick patients to notify staff immediately of their illness. Hospital staff members are on the lookout for patients with signs of flu-like symptoms and prepared to isolate them. Hospitals have stocked up on anti-flu medicines like Tamiflu. Walerstein says NUMC has enough for 500 patients.
Long Island schools are also keeping a close eye on students? health since a cluster of cases first emerged at St. Francis Prep in Queens. Some districts are sending out recorded messages warning parents to keep their kids home if they?re sick.
Nassau and Suffolk health departments are coordinating the testing and tracking of probable or suspected cases of swine flu. They?re also having frequent meetings with hospitals, schools, police and state health officials. Suffolk officials say recent drills helped them deal with the swine flu outbreak.
The Nassau County branch of the Red Cross advises people keep two weeks worth of food and water at home so they don?t have to go out and buy supplies if they get sick.