Oklahoma Lawmaker Urges Health Emergency Due To Ebola

Thursday, October 9th 2014, 11:32 am
By: News 9

A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is asking Gov. Mary Fallin to declare a state of catastrophic health emergency relating to the Ebola virus.

Republican state Rep. Mike Ritze of Broken Arrow sent a letter Wednesday to Fallin asking her to use her powers to authorize the state's public health commissioner to quarantine individuals suspected of carrying the virus.

The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. died Wednesday, and the government announced it was expanding airport examinations to guard against the spread of the deadly disease.

There have not been any reported cases of Ebola in Oklahoma.

Alex Weintz, Communications Director for Governor Fallin, responded to Ritze's letter,

"Governor Fallin is coordinating with health officials and hospitals to ensure that the state is prepared to treat and contain any incidents of Ebola in Oklahoma. Should an Oklahoman get sick, we are ready to act.

Declaring a state of emergency when no Oklahomans are actually sick would be premature. If and when a state of emergency is declared, we want citizens to pay attention and understand the risk is real and immediate."

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma State Department of Health says it reassuring the public that no immediate threat exists to Oklahoma residents from the Ebola case in Texas.

OSDH officials will continue to work with hospitals and provide up-to-date communication, guidance and tools to ensure the safety and well-being of citizens.