De Blasio: New York City Could Handle Ebola Outbreak - NBC New York

De Blasio: New York City Could Handle Ebola Outbreak



    Local Liberians React to Ebola Scare

    Local Liberians say they have a good reason to be worried about the recent U.S. ebola scare. Roseanne Colletti reports from Clifton, Staten Island. (Published Monday, Oct. 6, 2014)

    Mayor Bill de Blasio says he's "very confident" the city's hospital system could handle an Ebola outbreak.

    De Blasio touts the public health system in the nation's biggest city, the ability of its first responders and its ties to the leadership of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    De Blasio said Monday his city has a "much more aggressive and coherent game plan" than other U.S. cities to fight a potential Ebola case.

    Eleven thousand Liberian immigrants live in the Clifton section of Staten Island, the greatest number in any city outside Africa, many of them refugees of the civil war of the 1980s and 1990s. Now they're watching as another enemy takes over their homeland. 

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    New York City health officials say an ebola outbreak in the city is unlikely, but they are prepared for a potential case. Andrew Siff has more.
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    "Words cannot express... to see your countrymen dying from an enemy that you cannot see," said Jolo Redd. 

    Home health aide Martha Daykeey said she sends practically everything she earns to keep her grown children in Liberia isolated and safe. When they speak on the phone, she cries. 

    They tell her "'Mommy, we don't know what's going on, and people are dying around us, and we don't know if we are even going to survive,'" she said. 

    On Targee Street, the owner of an African grocery store says he now sanitizes his hands after every transaction. 

    "Different people come here and I deal with cash all the time," he said. 

    De Blasio says "there is a clear protocol on what would happen if we had a case, clear understanding of how we will communicate among the hospitals," he said. "There are some places where someone may come into an emergency room with something that may look like Ebola. We may want to get them to a different facility with a different specialized capacity. 

    He said anyone who suspects he or she has Ebola should call 911 or rush to the nearest emergency room.

    Five Americans have returned to the U.S. from Africa for treatment since the start of the Ebola outbreak.

    A New York man treated for Ebola-like symptoms in August didn't have the virus.

    -- Roseanne Colletti contributed to this report. 

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