There have been just three diagnosed cases of Ebola in the United States, and less than 200 people actually exposed to the virus. Yet, the fear by many that Ebola can become an epidemic in this country — although federal officials have dismissed any real possibility of that happening — has Gov. Rick Scott pushing federal officials to help Florida prevent the virus from coming here.
In his latest move, Scott has directed the Florida National Guard to establish two rapid response teams — groups of 16 people that includes doctors, nurses and equipment personnel.
The teams are undergoing intensive training, and will be ready by the end of October to help health care workers — if they are ever needed — to supplement a hospital’s existing personnel in case Ebola does arrive in the Sunshine State. The move comes after Texas experienced a number of missteps that officials believe may have expanded the number of American-based Ebola cases from one to three.
“While our first responders and health care workers are the front line of care in the event of an Ebola case, our Florida National Guard is currently establishing two rapid response teams that can manage Ebola cases and provide support to hospitals, if needed,” Scott said, in a release.
Scott already has directed state officials to repurpose more than $7 million in federal funding Florida has received to buy equipment to help the state prepare for any Ebola response. On top of that, employees are 55 Florida hospitals have completed Ebola preparedness training, with a hope of expanding that to all 210 hospitals in the state.
The chances that Ebola will spread beyond the current containment of the virus in the United States is extremely minimal, and the chance for there being an outbreak in America is practically zero, officials said. At the current rate of infection in the United States, the odds of being diagnosed with Ebola in the United States are 1-in-105 million.
By comparison, the odds of dying from tuberculosis in the United States is 1-in-6,300, and the odds of dying from lung cancer is 1-in-23. And the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot is 1-in-175 million.
The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, died Oct. 8. Two nurses who helped treat Dunan are now being treated themselves.