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Good idea? Nebraska county to screen 911 calls for possible Ebola exposure

Ambulance in Mason City.  Should emergency responders fear Ebola?
Ambulance in Mason City. Should emergency responders fear Ebola?

OMAHA – Some are saying a Nebraska county which includes the metro Omaha area may be going too far in asking a series of “screening questions” for any caller who may need an ambulance, in order to determine any possible exposure to the Ebola virus.

According to Omaha mayor Jean Stothert, starting Friday, the 911 operators in Douglas County, Nebraska “are using a series of screening questions to determine if people who need an ambulance may have been exposed to Ebola”.

Stothert, a Republican, claims “this is just a precaution and part of a detailed safety plan created by the Omaha Fire Department and many other public health and safety agencies in the metro area to protect everyone; the public, our first responders and health professionals.”

Stothert admits “there is no known Ebola risk in our area, but if the time comes, you can be confident Omaha is ready.”

Stothert went on to say via social media that “a proactive plan for a communicable disease – that is killing thousands in another country – is essential. Knowing how to diagnose, contain, treat and cure – is the goal. Just as was done with yellow fever, polio, TB, etc.”

In general, positive comments were left on Stothert’s social media post regarding this policy change.

However, others were not so thrilled.

“What happens if someone dies due to this delay with asking questions? I know people [are]┬áconcerend about Ebola but i think this is wrong,” an Omaha woman said.

An Omaha man said “In life or death situations every second counts!! This is absolutely pointless.”

Others claimed the policy change is “fear mongering” by Republicans.

Do you feel emergency responders should be screening calls to determine a potential for Ebola transmission?

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