Darien officials say they are ready if Ebola hits home
Published 3:52 pm, Friday, October 24, 2014
Following confirmation that a doctor tested positive for Ebola in New York City, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson says the town is prepared should a case be reported in town or begin to show symptoms of the potentially deadly disease.
Post 53, the local emergency medical service, "is following all state Department of Health recommendations and is being advised by both Stamford and Norwalk Hospitals," Stevenson said in news release issued Friday, the day the recently returned international-relief physician was diagnosed with Ebola. "Protocols are in place for the care and transport of any confirmed or at-risk patients."
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy already declared that anyone who has recently traveled to the west African nations of Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone -- where the Ebola outbreak is concentrated -- be quarantined for 21 days.
Stevenson made clear in her release that a quarantined individual is not necessarily infected.
"The purpose of quarantine, as stated by the [Centers for Disease Control], is to monitor at risk individuals who show no signs of illness," Stevenson said. "This is a precautionary measure to protect the public in the event that individual begins to show signs of a communicable illness."
The quarantined individuals are instructed to stay at home and away from the public. Local health officials are required to check in with the quarantined people twice a day to take their temperature and monitor how they are feeling.
Stevenson regularly meets with town Health Department officials, emergency management director and emergency responders "to facilitate an organized response, sensitive to public heath and safety, should a situation arise," according to her release.
She is also meeting with regional leaders to "ensure an organized regional approach to any emergency."
"Given the fact that the current criteria for quarantining individuals is simply due to the risk posed by travel from affected regions, it is highly unlikely that the majority of individuals who are quarantined are infected with Ebola," Darien's medical advisor Caleb Moore said in the release. "Consequently, these individuals pose little risk to the public."
As of Oct. 19, there have been a total of 9,936 cases of Ebola worldwide, resulting in 4,877 deaths, according to the CDC.
In the United States, there have been four confirmed cases of Ebola, with one death in Texas.
The New York City doctor had spent time in Guinea treating Ebola patients with the relief agency, Doctors Without Borders. He remains in isolation at Bellevue Hospital. During a press conference Friday, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio said that there is no cause for alarm.