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No plans to activate emergency center, sheriff says

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said there are no immediate plans to activate the county’s Emergency Operation Center in response to swine flu, as has been done in Seattle.

“We’re not at that stage,” Knezovich said early this afternoon.

The Spokane Regional Health District has contacted the Spokane County man reported to be in his 40s who is suspected of having the swine flu virus, Knezovich said. On Wednesday night, health district officials said they were unable to reach him after the tests earlier in the day indicated he had the virus.

The Washington Department of Health announced Wednesday night that Washington has six probable: three in King County, two in Snohomish County and one in Spokane County.

At a meeting Thursday morning with health, city, county, public safety and school officials in Spokane, leaders evaluated flu response plans for schools and emergency responders, Knezovich said.

The sheriff repeated advice heard frequently since the swine flu emerged in the past week: wash hands frequently and stay home from work or school if sick.

“There really is no need to panic. The worst thing we can do is panic,” Knezovich said. “What we need to do is follow the basics.”