Although the primary Ebola focus in the United States has focused on Dallas, Texas - public health authorities in Ohio are also managing more than 150 contacts (close and otherwise) of Texas nurse Amber Vinson who visited family shortly before being diagnosed with Ebola.
Most of these contacts are considered casual/low-risk, and so only three are `quarantined’.
Others must either have their temperatures taken twice daily (Tier 2A) or self monitor their temperatures (Tiers 2B and 3). Some travel restrictions are imposed.
Earlier today, the number of contacts was reported as only 29, but a new update indicates 153 total contacts. This number could change as the epidemiological investigation continues.
What is of particular interest, beyond the numbers, are how contacts are categorized.
Yesterday the State of Ohio – which had already announced Stricter Ebola Quarantine Protocols just two days ago, decided to up the ante just a bit.
New Restrictions on Travel Designed To Ensure Health Monitoring Compliance, Protect Travelers
COLUMBUS – Today the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) again strengthened the state’s recommended Ebola quarantine protocols to limit travel of people currently required to have their health condition monitored daily by a local health department and those required to report their health condition themselves to a local health department.
The new Ebola quarantine recommendations mean:
- Ohioans required to have a public health official monitor their health condition daily would be prohibited from leaving their health department’s jurisdiction unless the health department jurisdiction to which they are travelling agrees to assume that daily monitoring responsibility. If that agreement is not reached, the individual cannot travel and must keep their daily monitoring appointments in their home health department jurisdiction.
- Ohioans under self-monitoring and reporting requirements cannot leave the United States due to the inability to track them down in the event they fail to meet their daily reporting requirements.
“As we’ve seen, travel is a potential problem. It’s why the people of Ohio are dealing with the situation we have right now. We don’t want to take the slightest chance for this disease to potentially spread, we don’t want people in other places to have to deal with what we’re dealing with and we don’t want potentially sick Ohioans to go beyond the reach of the good care we know we have here at home in the unlikely event that they get sick,” said Dr. Mary DiOrio, state epidemiologist and interim chief of the ODH Bureau of Prevention and Health Promotion. “We’re taking an aggressive approach, no doubt about it, but it’s just common sense. Some might criticize us for being too aggressive, but we’re comfortable taking that criticism.”
Ohio’s revised quarantine protocols can be viewed here
All individuals shall be given written notice of their exposure category and the intervention and sign acknowledgement of the notice. The notice shall also apprise the individual of their responsibility to notify any first responder they come in contact with of their exposure category and intervention