HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Chris Christie said he has signed an executive order to create an Ebola virus joint response team to coordinate on Ebola preparedness in the state.
The group will oversee the state’s response as officials screen passengers from West Africa for Ebola symptoms when they arrive at Newark Liberty International Airport.
“The public in New Jersey needs to know we are prepared and we’re ready to deal with whatever comes,” Christie said Wednesday at an Ebola response and readiness briefing at Hackensack University Medical Center. “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.”
Symptomatic travelers would immediately be transported to one of three designated hospitals in the state.
Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd said the three designated hospitals are University Hospital in Newark, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick and Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack.
The Health Department has also purchased nearly $1 million worth of additional personal protection equipment for hospital workers.
Christie urged calm as the state prepared for new potential cases. He said the state is taking the threat “extraordinarily seriously, but we are not going to be in the business of stoking hysteria” with the public.
“Everyone needs to be calm,” he said.
Christie also said that there is no indication that a West African passenger at Newark airport has been infected by the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control said Tuesday the man was taken to University Hospital for evaluation after reporting symptoms or having a potential exposure to Ebola.
Christie said the patient is now asymptomatic and he anticipates the patient will be released from the hospital after he is interviewed by the Centers for Disease Control.
No patients have been diagnosed with Ebola in New Jersey.
Newark is one of five airports that President Barack Obama’s administration now requires all U.S.-bound passengers from West Africa to pass through.
The CDC also announced Wednesday that it will actively monitor all passengers returning from the outbreak region in West Africa for 21 days.
Passengers will get kits to help them track their temperature and will be told to inform health officials daily of their status.
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