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Monday, October 20, 2014

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Ohios Ebola Preparedness
Posting Date: 10/16/2014

From Tim Brown, Ohio House of Representatives:

"Today Gov. John R. Kasich issued the following statement in response to news that a Dallas health care worker who tested positive for Ebola virus had recently traveled to Ohio. Given everyone’s shared concerns about this issue, I thought you should have the information that was presented to me today."

Governor Kasich’s statement:

“I have been fully briefed on the federal, state and local activities that are underway and have directed state health officials to aggressively respond to the situation and provide local health officials every resource and support they need. Every effort must be taken to identify those at risk, monitor their health and avoid further risk.
“Ohio has a sophisticated state and local public health network that has been preparing for this possibility for several months and those plans are now being activated. The Department of Health’s epidemiologists are on-site in Summit County to support local efforts and are in ongoing communication with the CDC to make sure we have the most up-to-date information.
“The risk to people who have had no direct contact with the nurse remains very low, but everyone is seeking to apply the lessons from Dallas and we are responding aggressively to this situation, with a priority on public communication that is open, timely and accurate. We will continue to provide as much information as soon as possible and provide local health care providers the resources they need to keep Ohioans safe.”

Ohio’s Ebola Preparedness

Ohio activated its Ebola preparedness plan when it learned that an Ebola patient visited the state: Ohio was notified Wednesday morning by the CDC that a Dallas nurse who has tested positive for Ebola visited Summit County on Oct. 10-13. Ohio has been planning for months for a possible Ebola incident and it put those plans in motion upon learning this information.

Ohio is taking an aggressive response to this situation: Learning from the experience in Dallas, Summit County is using its quarantine powers to isolate people that had confirmed close contact with the

nurse—one person so far. Also, the Ohio Department of Health has sent epidemiologists to Summit County to support their work to identify people who had contact with the Dallas nurse. Also, Ohio and local health care officials are working with the CDC in order to receive the latest information on developments as well as to quickly learn about new recommendations for managing an Ebola patient.

Ohio and local health care officials have been preparing for Ebola since this summer: The Ohio Department of Health has been working since summer to make sure those on the frontlines—local doctors, EMS, hospitals and local health departments—have the information and resources they need. Officials from the Ohio Department of Health and local health care organizations recently came together to discuss the status of their preparedness efforts and to conduct a table top exercise to test the response to a hypothetical positive case. The CDC recently certified Ohio’s high-security state health lab to be able to test for Ebola so that Ohio health care officials can get test results as quickly as possible. Ohio has a strong, statewide system of public health authorities at the county and city level, as well as a high-quality network of health care providers, and they all have experience dealing with infectious diseases and the resources and training to prepare for and respond to any serious outbreak.

Facts About Ebola:

• Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).
• Ebola is spread by touching the blood and body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, or things with their blood and body fluids on it like clothes and bedding. Ebola is not spread through the air, food or water.
• Patients are contagious only when they are symptomatic and show signs of a fever.
• Anyone believing that they have been in contact with a person with Ebola should call their health care provider.


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