Philly declares swine flu emergency

October 30, 2009 3:19:26 PM PDT
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has declared a public health emergency in response to an increasing number of emergency room visits brought on by swine flu.

Nutter announced the declaration Friday morning at the recommendation of Health Commissioner Donald Schwarz. The declaration eases restrictions on hospital emergency rooms that are experiencing 25 percent more visits than normal.

The declaration allows hospitals to use alternative spaces and volunteers and waives bed limits and length-of-stay requirements.

Schwarz is urging residents with mild symptoms to stay away from hospitals unless absolutely necessary. He says the city's emergency rooms are already dealing with the very sick and do not need to divert resources for mild flu cases.

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