Tags: | Ebola Outbreak | chris christie | new | jersey | ebola

Christie Creates New Jersey Ebola Response Team, Urges Calm

Image: Christie Creates New Jersey Ebola Response Team, Urges Calm
(Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 03:02 PM

New Jersey began tracking airplane passengers who traveled from the three West African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, as Governor Chris Christie created a response team in case the disease reaches his state.

The second-term Republican, a potential 2016 candidate for president, urged the public to resist “hysteria” over a possible mass-breakout of the deadly virus. New Jersey, home of one of the five U.S. airports designated to ramp up Ebola screening, is prepared for any cases, Christie told reporters today at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Christie said New Jersey has learned from mistakes made in Texas, where a patient died Oct. 8 and two nurses who cared for him were infected with the disease. There are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in New Jersey, he said.

“We need to be responsible and cautious when talking about Ebola,” Christie said. “It’s not helpful to add to the hysteria.”

A West African man who arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport from Brussels was taken yesterday to a local hospital and deemed asymptomatic, Christie said. The man and his wife are still being questioned by federal health authorities, the governor said.

Travel Worries

Mary O’Dowd, the state’s health commissioner, said a mass outbreak in the U.S. isn’t probable and that the most likely event would be an isolated travel-related case.

Christie said he is powerless to impose a travel ban from regions ravaged by the outbreak, though he said he thinks that possibility should be considered. Because most flights originating in West Africa make a stop before arriving in the U.S., that would require suspending visas from affected countries.

“That’s a decision that has to be taken by the president,” Christie said. “Every step should be taken that can protect public health in the United States.”

Addressing the Ebola topic Oct. 15 in a monthly call-in radio show, Christie criticized Democratic President Barack Obama’s handling of the crisis, as not decisive. Two days later, Obama appointed Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joseph Biden, to lead the U.S. response effort.

Passenger Lists

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has infected 9,911 people in the three countries, and about half of those have died, the World Health Organization said today.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs Newark airport, has begun sharing with state police manifests of planes that have passengers who originated in West Africa, Christie said. State health teams then deploy to the facility and can help in any response, he said.

U.S. authorities will monitor people coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea for Ebola for 21 days, as part of an aggressive new program to prevent the deadly virus from entering the country. Six states -- New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland -- will begin Oct. 27.

Christie designated three hospitals -- University Hospital in Newark, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick and the Hackensack medical center -- to treat potential Ebola patients.

Jennifer Velez, commissioner of the New Jersey Human Services Department, said the state has begun lining up transportation and temporary housing if needed for non-New Jersey residents quarantined in the state.

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New Jersey began tracking airplane passengers who traveled from the three West African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, as Governor Chris Christie created a response team in case the disease reaches his state. The second-term Republican, a potential 2016 candidate...
chris christie, new, jersey, ebola
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2014-02-22
Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 03:02 PM
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