Preemptive State Of Emergency Called In Connecticut To Provide For Ebola Quarantines

Though there is no sign of any Ebola cases in Connecticut, Governor Dannel P. Malloy (D) isn’t taking any chances. He has signed an order declaring a Public Health Emergency, so that public health officials will have the authority to quarantine individuals exposed to the deadly Ebola virus.

After the Liberian man in Dallas came into a hospital, and was subsequently sent home with antibiotics and a “call me in the morning,” as reported by The Inquisitr, officials came under heavy criticism for not having a better system in place to deal with possible Ebola cases. A number of people were needlessly exposed to the disease due to what was termed a “flaw” in the system. The top politician in Connecticut is hoping to avoid such flaws with a preemptive strike.

The Washinton Post reports that the governor’s executive order, issued on Tuesday, gives Department of Public Health Commissioner Jewel Mullen the authority to quarantine anyone who may have been exposed to Ebola. Without the statewide declaration, Malloy told WFSB, decisions would be left up local public health officials, risking the spread of the virus. In some states, such as Massachusetts and New Hampshire, a state of emergency does not need to be declared for the state to be able to direct local quarantines.

“While local health officials are certainly on the front lines of this effort, at the ready to address any situation, having this order in place will allow us to have a more coordinated response in the event that someone in Connecticut either tests positive for Ebola or has been identified as someone who is at risk of developing it.”

Connecticut Plans For Ebola

The measure will enable state authorities to move quickly in the event of any suspected cases. Malloy says that Connecticut has a hierarchy and protocols in place to address any potential problems, isolating patients who have symptoms of, or have been exposed to, Ebola.

“I authorize the Commissioner of Public Health to order the isolation or quarantine, under conditions prescribed by the Commissioner of Public Health, or any individual or group of individuals whom the Commissioner reasonably believes to have been exposed to, infected with, or otherwise at risk of passing the Ebola virus.”

Local Connecticut hospitals also taking the precaution of putting up posters to “raise awareness,” asking if people have traveled outside of the United States. Health Commissioner Mullen says that at-risk people would be observed for the 21-day incubation period, but it wouldn’t necessarily be in a hospital room.

“They stay in a confined area, which could even be in their home and they’re not coming or going.”

The federal government also has the authority by executive order, similar to what the Connecticut governor issued, and it was signed years ago, according to Breitbart. Ordinarily, there are procedures that must be followed before someone can be quarantined, but Ebola is one of just a handful of diseases that is exempt from those requirements, in the interest of public health.

“This means that no court order is necessary to quarantine an individual who is not yet ill, but has been exposed to Ebola…. Quarantine or isolation associated with disease control is a restraint of constitutionally protected liberty. Like criminal arrest, or involuntary commitment into a mental health facility, legal safeguards must be taken but public health and welfare is also an issue.”

What do you think of Connecticut’s efforts to preemptively get ahead of Ebola before it gets to their state? Is it enough?

[images via Washington Post and Boing Boing]