Plaquemines Parish leaders discuss Ebola & Mississippi River threat

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PLAQUEMINES PARISH (WGNO) – The main concern in Plaquemines is the Mississippi River. The river sees lots of traffic and the goal of the meeting is to get a better understanding of what can be done to keep potentially infected crew members from infecting others.

Several key players attended meeting. The Plaquemines Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says over the past several weeks there have been at least three scares dealing with ships coming up the Mississippi River. 

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser says the scares have opened his eyes to just how vulnerable the parish is. He says as for now it is the responsibility of someone on board to make sure any illnesses are reported before a river boat pilot boards the ship, yet Nungesser does not feel comfortable with that policy.

“We need to make sure whoever is looking over those people are doing that inspection, if they’re coming from those countries, their top priority is the safety of the people here, not of getting cargo back and forth or any other priority,” explains Nungesser.

“We don’t want to play Russian Roulette with any chance, so if we’ve got to send someone out in the Gulf to inspect every one of these ships that’s coming from one of these countries; remember if you’re a dock worker in a country where people are dying on the street of Ebola you got a better chance of getting on that ship and coming to America to get saved that you do in that country.”

DHH says as of now there are now suspected cases of Ebola on Louisiana, yet they are asking the CDC for more guidance. DHH spokesperson Olivia Watkins says they want to know if a specific hospital should be used or if patients should be relocate out of state.

At this time there are four people being monitored in the state: one in Baton Rouge, one in New Orleans, an two in Marrero.

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