Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Connecticut declares preemptive Ebola health emergency, allows quarantines

Published time: October 08, 2014 01:08

Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy.(AFP Photo / Jared Wickerham)
Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy.(AFP Photo / Jared Wickerham)

The Democratic governor’s order ‒ which is not in reaction to any specific case of the virus ‒ gives Department of Public Health Commissioner Jewel Mullen the power to quarantine any person or group who may be exposed to or infected with Ebola.

“We are taking this action today to ensure that we are prepared, in advance, to deal with any identified cases in which someone has been exposed to the virus or, worst case, infected,” Malloy said in astatement.
“Our state’s hospitals have been preparing for it, and public health officials from the state are working around the clock to monitor the situation. Right now, we have no reason to think that anyone in the state is infected or at risk of infection,” he continued. “But it is essential to be prepared and we need to have the authorities in place that will allow us to move quickly to protect public health, if and when that becomes necessary. Signing this order will allow us to do that.”
Workers wearing hazardous material suits arrive at the apartment unit where a man diagnosed with the Ebola virus was staying in Dallas, Texas, October 3, 2014. (Reuters / Jim Young)
Without the declaration, there is no statewide ability to isolate or quarantine – instead, the authority rests with each individual local public health director, the governor’s office said.

“While local health officials are certainly on the front lines of this effort, at the ready to address any situation, having this order in place will allow us to have a more coordinated response in the event that someone in Connecticut either tests positive for Ebola or has been identified as someone who is at risk of developing it,” Mullen said.

“We have had numerous conversations with both local public health officials in the state and senior officials at the Center for Disease Control,” she continued. “We have no reason to believe that anyone in Connecticut is infected or at risk of infection, but if it does happen, we want to be ready.”

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