(Hartford, CT) - U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today called on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to adopt Connecticut’s more stringent standards for quarantine and isolation to protect the public from Ebola. Blumenthal’s statement comes one day after a Yale University graduate student who had visited Liberia was hospitalized in New Haven with Ebola-like symptoms. The student has since tested negative for Ebola. Last week, Governor Dan Malloy preemptively declared a Public Health Emergency regarding Ebola to authorize the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health to take additional steps should a potential case be identified.
“I am tremendously relieved that we have no known cases of Ebola in Connecticut today, but yesterday’s scare in New Haven underscores the urgent need for continued vigilance both locally and nationwide," said Blumenthal. "I appreciate Governor Malloy and Commissioner Mullen’s leadership in issuing guidance that is more stringent than standards issued thus far by the CDC. This guidance shows the importance of preemptive and precautionary action. We have no margin for error.
"Now I urge national health leaders to follow Connecticut's lead. We must take the most effective possible proactive steps. I am calling on the CDC to adopt Connecticut’s more stringent standards and protocols, particularly at points of entry to our country, to protect the public health. At airports and ports, there should be federal enforcement of quarantine requirements the state has put in place to ensure that men and women who may have been exposed to Ebola do not expose others to the virus. At this point, these guidelines are another step in setting minimum standards, but even tougher protocols may be necessary.
"This terrible disease has no approved, effective treatments and no vaccine. We need to substantially increase our investment in research—for labs on the front lines of the scientific fight against this epidemic—and ensure that our public health workers have better training and necessary protective gear, which is critical to stopping the spread of Ebola. We need to combat this outbreak at its epicenter in West Africa with military, health care, diplomatic and economic resources."
Governor Malloy announced additional guidelines yesterday—new precautions to ensure that first responders and the state's healthcare system are best prepared to deal with a potential case, should another be identified. Blumenthal is calling on the CDC to adopt or recommend the same guidance at airports that are now performing enhanced screening of passengers for Ebola.
Under the new Connecticut guidance, any person who becomes sick with Ebola-like symptoms and either:
· traveled to Liberia, Sierrra Leone, or Guinea in the past 21 days, or
· has had contact with a person who has Ebola
shall be taken to the hospital for evaluation and be placed in isolation, meaning separated from other patients.
Additionally, anyone who is not sick, but has traveled to affected areas or been in contact with an infected individual at any time is required to stay at home, quarantined for 21 days, and take his or her temperature twice a day. He or she will be contacted by a public health worker twice daily by phone under the state’s quarantine policy. In the case someone under quarantine develops symptoms he or she will be sent to the hospital for evaluation and placed in isolation.