Perry: No Border Closing Due to Swine Flu
Governor says situation is being handled well
By Jim Forsyth
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said this afternoon there are 26 confirmed cases of swine flu in the state, and he flatly rejected calls from some in Congress to close the U.S. Mexico border to keep the swine flu virus out of the U.S, 1200 WOAI news reports. "I think there are calls in Congress every day to do a lot of things we don't agree with, and that would be another one in a long list," Perry told state and local medical and emergency operations officials meeting here. Steve McCraw, Texas Homeland Security Director, told the officials The Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection 'affirmatively reporting' to the Centers for Disease Control when they have identified an individual coming across the border with flu symptoms and placing them into 'temporary quarantine.' "We also contacted Immigrations and Customs Enforcement," McCraw said. "Texas has received a lot of individuals from foreign countries who have been arrested and in detection, and we have told them to make sure we are immediately notified if there is anybody who has flu symptoms. We need to be aware of that." McCraw says between land and sea ports, there are 26 separate ports of entry into Texas. "They are doing passive screening, an informal quarantine at the ports, and they have to notify us." He said 'zero' people have been reported thus far for flu symptoms. Perry stressed that officials have a handle on the situation. "Today the message is that the state of Texas is taking appropriate actions to keep its people safe," he said. He said the state is addressing the situation in a 'calm and collected' manner, and he expects more positive tests for swine flu to come in, because significant levels of testing only began on Monday, and it takes as long as a week to get the results back. "We conduct our business every day, we travel, we move around in a way that's safe, and nothing has changed," Perry said. "Unless you have a compromised immune system, unless you have very young children or very elderly that would be traveling into some of these areas, you might make that call yourself. But if you're a health adult, if there is a convention you want to go to in Dallas or San Antonio, or Houston, go ahead with those travel plans." Perry said the numbers of people infected with swine flu in Texas are ‘obviously’ going to grow.