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Governor Deal Issues New Policy for Travelers from Ebola-affected Countries

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Courtesy release

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Georgia will increase Ebola monitoring for all in-bound travelers from affected countries.

“We are taking every necessary precaution to ensure that Georgia stands prepared to manage the risks associated with Ebola,” Deal said. “Because Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is one of five points of entry into the United States from affected areas, I have developed, in coordination with my Ebola Response Team, a policy to more aggressively monitor travelers from affected countries, symptomatic or not, and quarantine if need be. We are taking these proactive steps to protect the health of the people of our state, and this new policy is an altogether effective and appropriate response at this time.”

Travelers will be screened at the airport by quarantine station medical personnel. This screening will include measuring temperature and checking for symptoms of Ebola and history of any exposure to known Ebola patients.

If travelers show symptoms, they will be isolated immediately and transferred to a designated hospital for evaluation. If the travelers show no symptoms, they will be divided into three categories for monitoring. Categories and associated procedures detailed below:

  • Category 1, high riskTravelers with known direct exposure to an Ebola patient. Travelers in this category will be subject to quarantine at a designated facility.
  • Category 2, low riskTravelers from affected area with no known exposure to an Ebola patient. Travelers in this category will sign a monitoring agreement with the Georgia Department of Public Health. This agreement requires travelers to conduct temperature and symptom self-checks twice per day and report results to Public Health once per day (electronic, email or phone contact acceptable). Travelers who fail to report during the 21-day incubation period will be contacted by Public Health and issued a mandatory quarantine order if necessary.
  • Category 3Medical personnel actively involved in treating Ebola patients returning to the United States. Individuals in this category will be issued a 21-day active monitoring order and will be visually monitored (video communications or home visit) by Public Health twice per day. Public Health will assess for the development of symptoms and adjust restrictions as necessary. Noncompliance will result in quarantine at a state-designated facility.

The Ebola Response Team held a conference call this afternoon to analyze and endorse this new procedure. It will meet this Wednesday to continue evaluating state preparedness and making necessary recommendations.

Members of the Georgia Southern University Pandemic Influenza and Emergency Infectious Disease Committee met recently to discuss community and campus preparedness and response related to infectious diseases such as the Ebola virus and Influenza.

University Health Services Medical Director and Staff Physician Brian DeLoach said the University has an updated response plan. He also noted that each patient who is seen at the University’s Health Center, regardless of the reason, would be asked about their travel history within the last 21 days.

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