New Orleans officials prepping for Ebola, hold first meeting

October 6 2014 | Latest News
By Jaquetta White The Advocate

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, joined by senior aides from his administration as well as first responders and officials from Louis Armstrong International Airport and the Port of New Orleans, convened his first emergency preparedness meeting Monday morning to walk through the city’s response plan should the Ebola virus be reported locally.

The meeting, held at City Hall, lasted about an hour and a half and included representatives from the city’s health department, local hospitals and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

The meeting comes as a hospital in Dallas is treating a man with infected with the virus. Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed in the United States with Ebola, is in critical condition. Duncan traveled from Liberia, the epicenter of the outbreak, to Dallas last month.

The current Ebola epidemic, affecting multiple countries in West Africa, is the largest in history. About half the people who contracted Ebola in the current outbreak have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

No cases have been reported in Louisiana. Landrieu said the meeting was called in the “unlikely event” that that changes.

As part of the response plan, the health department will begin visiting urgent care centers and other clinics throughout the city this week to make sure that medical personnel know how to spot and respond to people who might be infected with the virus.