City, hospital to hold joint Ebola info session Wednesday

City, state have been formulating Ebola response.
City, state have been formulating Ebola response.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Hospital and city officials are planning a joint Ebola information session to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, in City Hall.

The community information session will focus on how city departments and the hospital are preparing, responding and working together to address current Ebola health concerns. Representatives from Norwalk health, fire and police departments as well Norwalk EMS and Norwalk Hospital will provide updates and answer questions.

Information will be provided on the Ebola virus, including how it is and isn’t spread, who is most at risk, and tips on how residents can protect themselves.

“We all understand the fear and questions that residents have about this disease,” said Mayor Harry Rilling in a Friday afternoon press release. “The goal of this program is to provide an overview to help Norwalkers better understand the situation and know where to go for reliable, accurate information, such as the Centers for Disease Control website.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the state is taking additional steps to strengthen the level of preparedness for the Ebola virus by enacting the quarantine and isolation protocols that were authorized under the order he signed last week. In addition, the Governor is directing that every hospital in the state perform a drill within the next week to assure that procedures and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are up to standard.

While conversations between different levels of government and state hospitals have been ongoing for months, Malloy also announced he is convening a Unified Command Team (UCT), chaired by Jewel Mullen, commissioner of the Department of Public Health (DPH), to serve as point in the state’s ongoing emergency management efforts. The team will be responsible for the coordination of resources and personnel and provide a single point of contact for communication with the public.  They will also be responsible for certifying that front line personnel at both acute care and community health care facilities and first responders have received the necessary training to deal with a potential case effectively and safely.

The UCT will be composed of officials from the governor’s office, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the State Department of Education, the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the State Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Corrections.

Malloy issued an order last week declaring a public health emergency as a precautionary matter. The order gives the Commissioner of the Public Health Department the authority to quarantine and isolate an individual or a group of individuals whom they reasonably believe has been exposed to the Ebola virus or infected with the Ebola virus. The order was executed as a precautionary and preparatory measure in the event that the state has either a confirmed infection or has confirmed that someone at risk of developing the infection is residing in the state.

Earlier this month, Mullen asked each hospital to complete a detailed hospital checklist for Ebola preparedness. During the Unified Command briefing, Commissioner Mullen said that all acute care hospitals had completed and returned the checklist. She said DPH also held a conference call with hospital representatives this week to review their preparedness efforts.

United Way 211 is providing information and links on its website, or you can call 2-1-1.


2 responses to “City, hospital to hold joint Ebola info session Wednesday”

  1. EveT

    Seemingly contradictory statements: (1) you cannot get Ebola by casual contact, like sitting next to an infected person on a bus or airplane; (2) Ebola virus can survive on surfaces for up to 6 days. How do you square those statements?

  2. I’m glad the hospital and city are taking this step to address fears and provide information. I wish they would address other far more problematic illnesses that pose real dangers to our citizens, influenza being at the top of that list. Basic education and guidance on how to prevent any of the infectious diseases from spreading can go a long way. Think about how many people you see on a daily basis leave a public restroom without washing their hands.

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