City Councilman Jones calls for hearings into Ebola-related emergency preparedness

City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. said the best way to alleviate fears about Ebola is by spreading facts and looking into preparedness. (NewsWorks

City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. said the best way to alleviate fears about Ebola is by spreading facts and looking into preparedness. (NewsWorks

City Council unanimously approved a resolution that — sponsored by Northwest Philadelphia councilmembers Curtis Jones Jr. (4th district) and Marian Tasco (9th) — calls for hearings “regarding citywide emergency preparedness for healthcare emergencies” including the Ebola virus.

The resolution (PDF) holds that the Committees on Public Health and Human Services and Public Safety will examine the “identification and safe treatment of individuals who have contracted an infectious disease, such as the Ebola virus, and strategies to effectively suppress the spread.”

It notes that the city’s medical community offers “expertise and advice [that] will be invaluable” to discussions about treatment and quarantine, while the city’s public-safety agencies “may play a key role in suppressing the spread of infectious diseases.” 

Jones said Thursday morning that the “it’s somebody else’s problem” mindset needs to take a back seat to are-we-ready preparedness, if only for worst-case-scenario’s sake.

“What are they doing in our hospitals to prepare? Our apartment buildings? Our schools? Many Americans don’t feel as if we are involved. We need to take a hard look at the issue and ask these questions,” he said. “The best way to dispel fear is through knowledge. … We have to make sure that  if we do [get affected], we are prepared.”

City Councilmembers Jannie Blackwell, Kenyatta Johnson and Maria Quinones-Sanchez co-sponsored the resolution.

Jones’ office tells NewsWorks that the hearing is expected to occur before Thanksgiving.

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