Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been briefed on the Ebola situation by the state Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen, according to a press release from the governor.
The governor said in the press release that although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low, state health officials have been working to prepare should a case of Ebola be identified in Connecticut.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday confirmed the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States in a person who had traveled to Dallas, Texas from Liberia, said the release from the governor’s office. The patient did not have symptoms when leaving West Africa, but developed symptoms approximately four days after arriving in the U.S. on Sept. 20.
“CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden reassured the public that by upholding strong health care infection control measures and public health practices, the U.S. can ‘stop Ebola in its tracks,’” said Malloy in the press release. “Our state health department has been working and communicating with federal and state partners to ensure those strong measures and practices are in place here in Connecticut.”
Malloy said in the news release that for the past several months, Department of Public Health (DPH) staff have been closely monitoring the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and receiving guidance from the CDC. DPH has sent regular Ebola-related updates and guidance to medical professionals, local health directors, hospitals, and emergency medical services providers.
The release said DPH has asked Connecticut hospitals to ensure they can detect a patient with Ebola, protect healthcare workers so they can safely care for the patient, and respond in a coordinated fashion. Hospitals have been asked to complete a detailed checklist for Ebola preparedness and return it to DPH later this month, said the release.
“Any acute care hospital in the state, by following well-defined, standard infection control measures and with the use of proper personal protection equipment, is capable of caring for an Ebola patient,” said Mullen in the news release. “We would not need to designate particular hospitals to care a patient who is infected.”
In May, the release explained, DPH reviewed state and local preparedness to address a biologic event with local public health officials from across the state. This review included the requirements for a public health emergency declaration, and what actions state and local agencies could take following such declaration.
“Based on everything presented on yesterday’s CDC briefing, I do not believe that the patient diagnosed in Texas puts Connecticut residents at higher risk,” said Mullen, according to the governor’s press release. “We have expected that given the size of the West African epidemic, there would eventually be someone diagnosed in our country.”