Ohio Opens Ebola Call Center

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The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) launched an Ebola response effort in light of recent news that a Dallas nurse (later diagnosed with the virus) traveled to the state.

Since Wednesday evening, the Department has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other state agencies to put together a response plan that includes a 24-hour call center, a state Joint Public Information Center (JIC), and stepped up protocols for local health departments responding to suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola.

ODH Public Information Officer, Melanie Amato, said the goal of Department is to deliver accurate and timely information to Ohioans about the state's response.

"What we want to say is be concerned, but do not panic," she said. "Ebola is not a virus that can be contracted through the air, through food, or through water. You need to have direct contact with a person and their bodily fluids. The chances of somebody getting Ebola from here on is very, very low. But, be concerned because somebody was in our area."

ODH said the state has already started the contact tracing process. If an Ohioan came in contact with the Dallas nurse who visited the state, they would be contacted by their local health department.

"Everybody that was an Ohio resident that we feel has been in contact with the patient, at this moment will have been contacted," Amato said.

Amato said ODH is confident in their response and that the state is prepared for Ebola.

"We feel we have a very good effort and we are prepared for handling any case of Ebola that may arise," she said.