State health officials hold webcast summit to combat H1N1 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

State health officials hold webcast summit to combat H1N1

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KENNEWICK, Wash.--  It's no secret the virus is spreading in Washington, today the state held a webcast conference led by Gov. Gregoire and other leaders to stress transparency. Locally the Benton Franklin Health District took notes and listened in.

"We need to have one unified message to our community and it's important to have summits like this so that we all know the message we need to be passing along to our communities at home," said Heather Hill of the Benton Franklin Health District.

And part of that message is to help minimize public fears. And with questions surrounding school closures, Hill says they will be last resort.

"[Parents say,] 'When are you going to close schools?' Closing schools is one of the last things that we want to do because kids tend to go out into the community and mix even more," she said.

Current outbreaks at Washington State University have turned all eyes on the state and their preparedness to combat the virus-- an illness that's here to stay.

"The 2000 people sick at Pullman is definitely our message that it's well embedded in our state and it's doing pretty much what we predicted it would do," she said. "It's making a lot of young adults and teenagers sick.

Now those young adults and children hill mentioned are the most susceptible to the H1N1 virus. And they will be the first to get the H1N1 vaccine once it's available in late october.

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