Sources: CBS New York.com, NJ.com Healthfit, MotherJones.com
New York and New Jersey have set up a new screening system that goes above and beyond the guidelines already set up by federal officials. The patients with the highest level of possible exposure will be automatically quarantined for 21 days at a government-regulated facility. (T)hose patients include anyone having direct contact with a person infected with Ebola while in Liberia, Guinea, or Sierra Leone.
Those with a lower risk will be monitored for temperature and symptoms. The new procedures already have been put into use at Newark Liberty International Airport…(A)nyone flying into a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey airport will need to abide by the new procedures.
Gov. Chris Christie announced that any Ebola patient who ends up in New Jersey will be treated at one of three hospitals in the northern part of the state: Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, University Hospital in Newark, and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
The new plan was welcomed by health-care workers, whose representatives had expressed doubt about the wisdom of expecting every local community hospital to cope with the life-and-death protocols of treating patients with a virus never seen here before.
Richard Ridge, head of the New Jersey State Nurses Association said, “I think it’s a great response, and the right thing to do.” Ann Twomey, president of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, a union that represents nurses and other health-care workers, said “Instead of trying to do a little bit of training for a lot of people, it’s better to have more intensive training for fewer people.” (But) Christie (had) dismissed her suggestion, saying, “I’ve generally found the nurses union to be unhelpful.”
Last week, the superintendent of Maple Shade New Jersey schools apologized after the district posted a letter announcing the arrival of two students from eastern Africa — which inadvertently sparked Ebola fears among parents. The letter stated that the students, who were originally scheduled to start school on Oct. 20, did not show any symptoms of the disease.
“No matter how well-intentioned, (the) message created conflict and concern within the Maple Shade community,” superintendent Beth Norcia wrote. “The children are from Rwanda, about 2,600 miles away from the region where the outbreak is centered…” (That’s the approximate distance from Maple Shade to Portland, Oregon — traveling west.)
The children’s parents had agreed to keep them home “past the 21-day waiting period,” an apparent reference to the time it takes for Ebola symptoms to appear. But they are now scheduled to start school this week.
Effective October 19, The Rwandan Ministry of Health…(requires) visitors who have been in the United States or Spain during the last 22 days…to report their medical condition — regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms of Ebola…for the duration of their visit to Rwanda (if less than 21 days), or for the first 21 days of their visit to Rwanda.