Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Christie Activates Ebola Preparedness Plan

Acting to ensure a unified, effective response to the Ebola virus, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today activated an Ebola preparedness plan to direct all activities of key state departments, hospitals and the medical community and homeland security apparatus to protect the public and create a strong line of defense against Ebola in New Jersey.

“My first and primary mission as Governor always is to protect the public health and safety of every resident of our state. Ebola also presents the challenge of defeating overreaction and fear in the public, and we can do that by creating a coordinated response and using a team of individuals already highly tested and experienced in dealing with public emergencies in our state. This should reassure the public that we are doing all in our power to protect against the arrival or spread of Ebola in New Jersey.”

Governor Christie signed Executive Order No. 164 today, creating the Ebola Virus Disease and Response Team, as he announced that an air traveler arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport via Brussels from West Africa last evening had been found to be asymptomatic today after execution of all appropriate protocols, from airport arrival to quarantine and care at University Hospital in Newark. The EVD-JRT will direct all matters of New Jersey’s public health response. It will be comprised of six members: the Commissioners of the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Education, the Attorney General, the Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.

The Governor’s Executive Order:
· Designates the EVD-JRT as the lead entity for coordinating all of New Jersey’s efforts to appropriately prepare for and respond to public health needs stemming from the threat of Ebola, including coordination with the federal government, local health officials, hospitals and other healthcare facilities
· Empowers the EVD-JRT to create an advisory panel to develop and deploy the State’s preparation and response to EVD, including administration officials and medical professionals
The EVD-JRT will work directly with hospitals and other healthcare facilities to manage preparations for the management of patients demonstrating Ebola symptoms or risks. To that end, Governor Christie today designated three New Jersey trauma centers to receive any Ebola-suspected cases: Hackensack University Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick and University Hospital in Newark. The state Health Department has also purchased nearly $1 million worth of additional personal protection equipment for health care employees.

The EVD-JRT will also coordinate with federal and state partners, and coordinate among all other Executive Branch agencies, including:
· Department of Children and Families
· Department of Environmental Protection
· Department of Transportation
· New Jersey Transit
· Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

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