Anyone who travels to Georgia from “affected countries” will face increased Ebola monitoring, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said Monday.
The move comes just days after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced quarantines for health workers returning from West Africa. The moves prompted a rebuff from the White House.
According to Deal, medical personnel at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will check passengers for symptoms of Ebola, check passengers’ temperatures and confirm any possible exposure to known Ebola patients. Anyone who shows symptoms of Ebola will be isolated immediately and transferred to a designated hospital for evaluation.
“We are taking every necessary precaution to ensure that Georgia stands prepared to manage the risks associated with Ebola,” Deal said in a news release. “Because Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is one of five points of entry into the United States from affected areas, I have developed, in coordination with my Ebola Response Team, a policy to more aggressively monitor travelers from affected countries, symptomatic or not, and quarantine if need be. We are taking these proactive steps to protect the health of the people of our state, and this new policy is an altogether effective and appropriate response at this time.”
As part of the monitoring process, state officials have will classify suspect travelers according to three categories:
- Category 1 (high risk): “Travelers with known direct exposure to an Ebola patient. Travelers in this category will be subject to quarantine at a designated facility.”
- Category 2 (low risk): “Travelers from affected area with no known exposure to an Ebola patient. Travelers in this category will sign a monitoring agreement with the Georgia Department of Public Health. This agreement requires travelers to conduct temperature and symptom self-checks twice per day and report results to Public Health once per day (electronic, email or phone contact acceptable). Travelers who fail to report during the 21-day incubation period will be contacted by Public Health and issued a mandatory quarantine order if necessary.”
- Category 3: “Medical personnel actively involved in treating Ebola patients returning to the United States. Individuals in this category will be issued a 21-day active monitoring order and will be visually monitored (video communications or home visit) by Public Health twice per day. Public Health will assess for the development of symptoms and adjust restrictions as necessary. Noncompliance will result in quarantine at a state-designated facility.”
The state’s Ebola Response Team will meet Wednesday to continue evaluating state preparedness and will make additional recommendations as necessary.