Yesterday, Virginia health officials debuted a new Ebola response plan that will include increased monitoring of incoming travelers from high-risk regions in West Africa, reports The Richmond-Times Dispatch.
While the plan does not include a mandatory quarantine for health workers returning from the Ebola zone, Virginia Health Commissioner Marissa Levine said that she has the legal authority to issue involuntary orders of isolation or quarantine. She said in a media call, “I would not hesitate to issue this order if necessary to protect Virginian’s health.”
As of last week 53 travelers from the high-risk zones of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia had returned to Virginia. “Our goal is to contact all of them. It will be pretty quick in terms of turning that around,” said Levine.
Bill Hazel, the state’s secretary of health and human services said that most of these individuals were screened upon entering the airport and that they are known to officials. Adding, “There is no Ebola in Virginia today.”
The monitoring program will require that each traveler returning from one of the three West African states will go through an evaluation that will determine their risk of developing Ebola.
The screeners at the airports of entry will then provide the name and contact information for all travelers with destinations in Virginia. From there, officials will contact the travelers and give them specific instructions, which include an individual monitoring plan.