State of Connecticut's Efforts to Safeguard Against Ebola
Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced on October 16, 2014 that the State of Connecticut is taking additional steps to strengthen the level of preparedness for the Ebola virus by enacting the quarantine and isolation protocols that were authorized under the order he signed last week. In addition, the Governor is directing that every hospital in the state perform a drill within the next week to assure that procedures and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are up to standard.
Governor Malloy also has convened a Unified Command Team (UCT), chaired by Jewel Mullen, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health (DPH), to serve as point in the state’s ongoing emergency management efforts. The team will be responsible for the coordination of resources and personnel and provide a single point of contact for communication with the public. They will also be responsible for certifying that front line personnel at both acute care and community health care facilities and first responders have received the necessary training to deal with a potential case effectively and safely.
The UCT will be composed of officials from the Governor’s Office, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the State Department of Education, the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the State Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Corrections.
Governor Malloy issued an order declaring a public health emergency as a precautionary matter. The order gives the Commissioner of the Public Health Department the authority to quarantine and isolate an individual or a group of individuals whom they reasonably believe has been exposed to the Ebola virus or infected with the Ebola virus. The order was executed as a precautionary and preparatory measure in the event that the state has either a confirmed infection or has confirmed that someone at risk of developing the infection is residing in the state.
Earlier in October, Commissioner Mullen asked each hospital to complete a detailed hospital checklist for Ebola preparedness. During the Unified Command briefing, Commissioner Mullen said that all acute care hospitals had completed and returned the checklist. She said DPH also held a conference call with hospital representatives this week to review their preparedness efforts.
The Governor and the Commissioner are issuing the following guidance, which is more stringent than the guidelines thus far issued by the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): If you become sick with a fever a fever with and/or any of the symptoms of Ebola virus disease such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and you:
- Have traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea in the last 21 days, or
- Have had contact with a person who has Ebola virus disease.
You will be sent to a hospital for evaluation and placed in room separate from other patients – this is called isolation.
If you are not sick, but have traveled to affected areas or been in contact with an infected individual, you will be required to stay at home for 21 days and take your temperature twice a day. Public heath health workers will contact you twice a day by phone to see how you are doing. This is called quarantine. If you develop a fever or other symptoms suggestive of Ebola virus during the time that you are required to be home, you will be sent to a hospital for evaluation and placed in room separate from other patients.
According to the CDC:
- You can’t get Ebola though air
- You can’t get Ebola through water
- You can’t get Ebola through food.
You can only get Ebola from:
- Touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick or has died from Ebola
- Touching contaminated objects, like needles
- Touching infected animals, their blood or other body fluids or their meat.