Gov. Chris Christie assured New Jersey residents the state is prepared to handle potential Ebola cases and pleaded with them to stay calm as reports of scares involving the deadly virus continue to mount.
"My 11-year-old daughter is not getting Ebola," the governor said as he attempted to assuage public fears about potential cases.
On Tuesday, a Liberian national caused a scare when he landed at Newark International Airport, one of the five airports where the greatest number of travelers from Ebola-ravaged regions arrive, with a fever. He was taken to the hospital to be evaluated as a precaution, and Christie said Wednesday at a news briefing announcing the creation of a joint response team to coordinate the state's Ebola preparedness that he did not show symptoms of the deadly virus.
A spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the patient did not have Ebola symptoms and said he would continue to be monitored at University Hospital.
Meanwhile, Christie urged calm as the state prepared for potential cases of the virus that has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa.
"We are not going to be in the business of stoking hysteria'' with the public, Christie said.
The governor signed an executive order to create a joint response team to oversee the state's response as officials begin screening passengers from West Africa for Ebola symptoms when they arrive at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Under the plan, state Health Department officials would determine if a passenger deemed asymptomatic by the CDC needs to be quarantined because they are considered high-risk. Those individuals would be taken either to temporary housing or to their home, depending on where they live. Symptomatic travelers would be transported to one of three designated hospitals in the state.
Christie said the state is taking the threat of the disease "extraordinarily seriously," but urged calm, saying, "We are not going to be in the business of stoking hysteria" with the public. No patients have been diagnosed with Ebola in New Jersey.
Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd said the state has designated three hospitals to receive Ebola patients: Hackensack, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick and University Hospital. The Health Department has also purchased nearly $1 million worth of additional personal protection equipment for hospital workers.
Newark Liberty is one of five airports that President Barack Obama's administration now requires all U.S.-bound passengers from West Africa to pass through. People whose trips began in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone will be screened for symptoms.
The CDC also announced Tuesday that it will actively monitor all passengers returning from the outbreak region in West Africa for 21 days.