Walker Announces Ebola Preparedness Plans, Calls for Commercial Travel Ban
For the City-Times
Governor Scott Walker today announced he has directed state leaders to take action to implement emergency preparedness measures aimed at protecting the public in case of the potential spread of the Ebola virus to Wisconsin. There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Wisconsin, and no tests have been conducted or are pending due to suspected cases.
“Here in Wisconsin, we take protecting the public from a potential health crisis very seriously,” Governor Walker said. “We are taking these steps because, while we hope for the best, we must be prepared for the worst. Prevention is key to stopping the spread of any illness. ”
The following steps are being taken to help prepare for and prevent potential cases of Ebola:
First, Governor Walker has directed Wisconsin’s State Health Officer, Karen McKeown, to work with Major General Donald Dunbar, Adjutant General of the Wisconsin Natural Guard, to train teams from the Wisconsin National Guard on the protocols and procedures for the treatment of individuals with Ebola. These teams will serve as back-up response units to the existing teams in Wisconsin’s health care system and can be mobilized quickly to help systems in need.
Second, Governor Walker is partnering with the Wisconsin Hospital Association and hospitals across the state in developing a Clinical Advisory Team of clinical professionals. This advisory team will provide technical assistance and medical expertise to the Department of Health Services in the ongoing development of the state’s response to Ebola.
Third, Governor Walker is calling on the federal government to institute a commercial travel ban for affected countries in West Africa, while still allowing charter, military, and other flights deemed medically necessary to help combat the spread of Ebola in those countries.
“While it is important for flights deemed medically necessary to be able to transport medical professionals to and from affected countries, President Obama should immediately put a ban on commercial travel to and from the affected countries,” said Governor Walker. “We must balance our continued efforts to support medical systems and contain and eradicate the virus in West Africa with taking necessary steps to protect American citizens from the virus spreading further within our country.”
In addition to these steps announced today, to prevent the spread of the potentially deadly virus to Wisconsin, the state has in place a surveillance policy to monitor people who have reported travel to Ebola-stricken countries. This policy, in addition to the state’s ongoing outreach and education efforts, are focused on securing and protecting the health and safety of the community, health care providers, and potentially infected individuals.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local public health officials, and health care providers to ensure preparedness measures are in place.
For information on the Ebola virus, visit:http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/diseasepages/ViralHemorrhagicFevers.htm.