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> Ebola Joint Statement Oct 21

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

For more information contact:
Frank Kruppa or Theresa Lyczko at (607) 274-6600


Joint Statement on Ebola Preparations in Tompkins County 

(ITHACA, N.Y., October 21, 2014) — The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the three confirmed cases in Texas are raising questions throughout the United States and Tompkins County about the preparedness of local resources to handle this crisis.

In Tompkins County, a coalition of healthcare, academic and first responders is actively developing strategies to respond in the event of a confirmed case of Ebola in Tompkins County. To date, no cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Tompkins County or the State of New York. This coalition has been engaged in collaborative planning since August and includes the Tompkins County Health Department, Cayuga Medical Center, local health care providers, Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, the Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response, and first responders.

This collaborative planning is built on the strong foundation of many years experience in the joint handling of a wide range of public-health and safety issues.

As the agency charged with protecting the Tompkins County community from the spread of a confirmed Ebola case, the Tompkins County Health Department is responsible for identifying and monitoring anyone with potential Ebola exposure. The department has decades of experience tracking communicable diseases on a daily basis and working with local health care providers to limit and prevent the spread of communicable disease. The county health department is monitoring the latest clinical guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the New York State Department of Health and communicates that information to its partners.

At Cayuga Medical Center, a number of measures to prepare for a potential Ebola case are in place. Medical center physicians and staff receive extensive annual staff training on the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, including the use of the center’s isolation rooms. The center extensively instructs its emergency department urgent care center physicians and employees on following all Centers for Disease Control and New York State Department of Health protocols. In addition, the center monitors all communication from the Centers for Disease Control and the New York State Department of Health and the Tompkins County Health Department, for any changes in Ebola patient treatment protocols.

Cornell University is informing students, faculty and staff members about measures to protect the health of the community. Medical, safety, and senior administrative staff and faculty have been engaged since mid-summer in implementing best practices to protect individual health and campus safety.

Given the evolving situation, last week Cornell announced new travel restrictions: faculty, staff and students are not being allowed to travel for university business to the West African nations under travel warnings issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cornell also discourages personal travel to countries under CDC travel warnings, or hosting visitors from these countries at this time. The university requires consultation with Gannett Health Services by Cornell community members who have traveled to any of the affected countries, or had contact with someone who has, or had known exposure to a person with Ebola.

As this public health situation evolves, the coalition is committed to informing the community on any changes to our local or national response.