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Rocori School District Superintendent Scott Staska announces that his middle school will remain closed through next Tuesday as state health officials investigate a confirmed case of swine flu in Cold Spring, Minn. The flu victim had an affiliation with the school. With Staska is Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who with other state and local officials held a news conference Thursday at the district's high school, which remains open.

Minnesota swine flu case confirmed

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ST. PAUL - Minnesota's first swine flu case has been confirmed.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta today confirmed the illness was caused by what Minnesota officials call the "H1N1 novel influenza virus."

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A woman connected to central Minnesota's Cold Spring school district came down with the flu earlier this month and her doctor sent a specimen to the state health laboratory, which decided it was a probable swine flu case. However, state health officials waited until the CDC lab confirmed it this morning.

Federal guidelines indicate a school should be closed for a week if swine flu is confirmed.

Two Cold Spring schools remained closed a second day today and Gov. Tim Pawlenty is meeting with Cold Spring-area health, government and law enforcement officials. After that meeting, Pawlenty and others will brief reporters on the latest developments.

School and health officials refuse to say much about the patient other she "has ties to Rocori Middle School." That school and nearby St. Boniface Elementary, which shares some facilities with the middle school, are the affected schools.

Rocori Superintendent Scott Staska said he has not been told the victim's name. The victim never was hospitalized and is expected to make a full recovery.

Health Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan said her agency is interviewing people who may have had contact with the victim.

Her department has tested about 100 potential flu specimens for swine flu characteristics in recent days, with another 50 still to test. They are specimens sent by physicians and other health providers whose patients reported flu symptoms; they are from throughout Minnesota.

Minnesota has only the one confirmed case, and the flu strain is difficult to predict, Magnan said.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said state and local public health officials will do everything possible to contain the illness.

However, Pawlenty added: "Realistically, we have to acknowledge that we should expect more cases."

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta today confirmed the illness was caused by what Minnesota officials call the "H1N1 novel influenza virus."

Pawlenty met with Cold Spring-area health, government and law enforcement officials this morning.

Health officials say Minnesotans can help themselves avoid getting the swine flu by taking care of themselves and using proper hygiene, such as frequently washing their hands. They can avoid infecting others by staying home when they are sick and covering their coughs and sneezes, health officials say.

The Health Department has launched a public hotline for information about the new flu strain. The phone - (800) 657-3903 - is answered 8 a.m. until 4:30p.m.

Health officials say Minnesotans can help themselves avoid getting the swine flu by taking care of themselves and using proper hygiene, such as frequently washing their hands. They can avoid infecting others by staying home when they are sick and covering their coughs and sneezes, health officials say.

The Health Department has launched a public hotline for information about the new flu strain. The phone - (800) 657-3903 - is answered 8 a.m. until 4:30p.m.

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