Manatee County prepared for ebola, officials say

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
October 9, 2014 7:20 pm


Dr. Jennifer Bencie, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County. (Daily Fray photo)

Public safety and health officials said Thursday that Manatee County has the resources and emergency management ability to contend with a potential case of Ebola.

“We are prepared [and] our hospitals are prepared,” Public Safety Director Ron Koper said at a news briefing.

Dr. Jennifer Bencie, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County, and representatives from Blake Medical Center, Manatee Memorial Hospital and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport were among the county stakeholders who met at the Public Safety Center.

The Public Safety Department was “still operating in a monitoring mode, in an awareness mode," Koper said. "It’s not unlike business we’ve encountered before. We have dealt with epidemics that have affected the world and our country, and we were prepared locally.”

Bencie said health officials were following protocol from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has been a target of criticism, and support was strong.

“Absolutely,” Bencie said. “The CDC has the experts, the world experts, and work in coordination with the World Health Organization and many ministries of health around the world.”

The meeting was called partly in response to a medical episode Friday in Sarasota, where a patient with apparent symptoms of Ebola triggered emergency action at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

“This is still a nonissue in the state of Florida and in Manatee County,” Koper said.

The largest Ebola outbreak in history has sickened more than 8,000 and killed roughly 4,000, according to the WHO.



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