State Leader Meet At Capitol To Discuss Ebola Preps

Monday, October 13th 2014, 7:42 pm
By: News 9

Although there have been no confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in Oklahoma, state leaders are working to stay ahead of a possible outbreak.

Gov. Mary Fallin says Oklahoma is more than prepared if we were to have a confirmed case. And she met with state leaders in her office to talk all things Ebola.

"We're working together in concert to make sure we have a great plan," Fallin said.

Planning for the worst-case scenario, Fallin joined with emergency and health officials to get ahead of any possible Ebola outbreak in Oklahoma.

“We're adept to being able to deal with crisis in our state. We've had plenty over our state's history, but this is a new challenge for us with Ebola and the scare that we've had throughout the United States,” she said.

New fears arose after a Dallas nurse recently got the virus after caring for Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, who died of the disease last week. The Oklahoma Nurses Association says state health care workers are receiving the proper training.

"Hospitals are preparing their staff and nurses, and we're doing everything we can to make sure that nurses are educated," said ONA Executive Director, Jane Nelson.

10/13/2014 Related Story: CDC Chief Says U.S. Must ‘Rethink' How It Handles Ebola

The Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson says the agency recently passed an impromptu emergency drill with flying colors.

“We do have capabilities and protocols in place, and we are on top of this,” Thompson said.

The Governor's roundtable even touched on what would happen to any animal that contracted Ebola.

"We would house that pet in a quarantine facility. We have no plans to euthanize that pet, unless it started showing some definite symptoms, although there is no evidence that pets can pass this virus on or get sick, there is some evidence that they can be infected,” said Oklahoma State Veterinarian Rod Hall.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, along with other Tulsa officials from the airport and emergency management, concurred that Oklahoma is ready.

“I feel very confident that our citizenry is being well served. What they want to see is confidence that we're going to react well if there is a situation, and I'm very confident that we are going to react well,” Bartlett said.

From Tulsa to OKC, officials with EMSA say they now ask 911 calls about their travel history if the patient shows Ebola-like symptoms.

"Medics have been trained, they've got protection, and they're just on a heightened alert to ask the right questions of the appropriate patients," said Michael Murphy, director of the Metropolitan Medical Response System run by EMSA.

The State Health Department says it will post all updates on its website.