There is no indication that a West African passenger taken to Newark’s University Hospital Tuesday has been infected by the Ebola virus, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday.
Nevertheless, the governor said, state officials are taking the threat of the disease very seriously.
And the state is prepared, said Christie, who has issued an executive order creating an Ebola response team to coordinate the state’s actions.
“The public in New Jersey needs to know that we’re prepared, and we’re ready to deal with whatever comes, and that we’re constantly reviewing our protocols and our approaches to make sure that we’re doing it in the best possible way that we can,” he said.
Plans call for the state’s health department to determine if passengers screened at Newark Airport need to be quarantined. Christie added that New Jersey has learned a lot from procedural errors made at a Texas hospital where a Liberian man died of Ebola.
New Jersey has had no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola, said Mary O’Dowd, state commissioner of health, at a news conference in Hackensack.
“And I want to reiterate that the likelihood of an outbreak is extraordinarily low,” she said. “We may have a travel-related case, and that has really been the focus of our preparedness efforts for the last several months.”
New Jersey recently invested in $1 million worth of personal protective gear for any health workers who may have contact with potential patients, Christie said.
He said the Newark patient will probably be released after speaking with personnel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.