The St. Mary’s County Health Department and the St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services & Technology brought together key community partners to discuss county-wide preparedness plans for handling Ebola should a St. Mary’s County resident be suspected of having the virus. At this time, there are no known or suspected cases of Ebola in St. Mary’s County; however, given the seriousness of the Ebola outbreak in western Africa and the recent cases diagnosed in the U.S., multiple partners are preparing for the possibility of a local Ebola case.

Representatives from the St. Mary’s County Health Department, St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services & Technology, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Mary’s County Emergency Medical Services, St. Mary’s County Public Schools, Patuxent River Naval Air Station, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland Emergency Management Agency, and the Maryland State Police participated in a roundtable discussion October 15 to discuss preparedness strategies for the County. Partners are now planning further exercises and training to advance preparations.

“Collaborating with our community partners in preparing for a possible Ebola case is our best defense against a local outbreak in the unlikely event that a St. Mary’s County resident contracts Ebola,” stated Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Our community comes together not just to respond – we come together to prevent and prepare.”

“St. Mary’s County consistently seeks to improve our response to events that may occur within our jurisdiction,” said Bob Kelly, Director of St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services & Technology. “Discussing responses to events and identifying our agencies’ responsibilities makes our community and our first responders better prepared.”   

The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest in history, primarily affecting multiple countries in western Africa though more recently with some cases diagnosed in the U.S.  Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids from a person who has symptomatic Ebola virus disease.

For more information about the Ebola virus and transmission, please visit the CDC’s website.