HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Malloy declared a ‘Public Health Emergency’ because of the threat from the Ebola virus. The Governor’s office says there is no reason to believe that anyone in Connecticut is infected but they want to be ready.
The State Department of Public Health has been communicating for the past several weeks with the state’s hospitals on what precautions to take in the event a patient exhibits symptoms of Ebola but Tuesday the state took a much bigger step.
At 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, Governor Malloy signed an order declaring a public health emergency which gives him and the state health department extra-ordinary powers.
As Dr. Jewell Mullen, the state Commissioner of Public Health explains, it’s not because we are at a heightened risk of the disease. “This declaration is specifically designed to give me the authority to quarantine or isolate individuals who might pose a threat to the public,” said Dr. Mullen.
Because of the declaration the public health commissioner now has full authority to enforce a quarantine isolating any member of the public whether a Connecticut resident or a visitor.
“We would absolutely use state or local police to enforce a quarantine, it’s in everyone’s best interest that we do that,” added Gov. Malloy.
One of the big reasons Malloy is taking this precautionary move is because Connecticut has a very well traveled population plus our proximity to international airports in New York and Boston.
The Public Health Commissioner says there would be just two criteria for a quarantine, “because of an exposure to the Ebola virus or because they have the disease.”
The Governor also said that he took this step so that municipal health officials. ones in the cities and towns that might not have enough resources to do enforce a quarantine, would get the full force of the state health department.
FULL COVERAGE: Ebola Outbreak