Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered Monday state agencies to develop policies covering travel to Ebola stricken countries by their employees, students and faculty.
The executive order covers those who travel as a result of educational trips or work-related missions to countries identified by the federal Centers for Disease Control as having an epidemic of the deadly virus, including Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Jindal said he wants policies developed within five days “due to the urgency of this foreseeable threat and importance of having procedures in place to minimize the threatened harm…”
The order was not Jindal’s first foray into the Ebola arena. He’s previously urged a national ban on flights from and to the area.
The Republican governor has also blasted President Barack Obama handling of the situation.
Jindal executive order states: “the federal government, to date, has failed to implement protections at the national level to prevent the entry of the Ebola Virus Disease into the United States of America.”
Nearly 4,500 people have died in the West African countries.
Jindal used the executive powers governors have to deal with public health emergencies in issuing the directive.
“It is prudent to implement such precautionary, common-sense measures ... to reduce this foreseeable threat to the citizens and property of the State, including the reporting of travel to these countries and the development of policies governing their return to normal duties or classroom attendance following such travel,” Jindal’s order states.
Jindal’s edict came as the first group of people who had contact with Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan were taken off an exposure watch list in Dallas. More than 40 people including Duncan’s fiancé e and son, completed a 21-day monitoring period. Others, including Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas employees, remain under observation. Two nurses who cared for Duncan are being treated for the Ebola virus one of whom traveled out of state before the diagnosis.
Ebola has a 21-day incubation period, and when a case is confirmed officials monitor anyone who had contact with that person for three weeks.
Jindal’s order refers to the 21-day period in several instances.
The policies would include:
- Reporting the travel to the state health agency’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology section within 48 hours of receiving the information if prior to travel and within 24 hours if subsequent to travel.
- Restrictions or advisories regarding use of commercial transportation for 21 days after departing an Ebola impacted area. The 21 days is the observation period for someone who may have been exposed to the virus.
- Restrictions or advisories on going to places where the public congregates for 21 days after departing an impacted area.
- Procedures for daily communication and monitoring, if determined necessary, by public health officials for 21 days after departing an impacted area.