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Update: Guthrie schools no longer on alert concerning Ebola virus

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Update at 3:36 p.m. on 10-20-2014 — The Oklahoma State Department of Health is no longer recommending any restrictions for Guthrie Public Schools concerning the Ebola virus.

“I am pleased to report the passenger under observation has been cleared of any illness,” Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson said in an email.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is working with school and childcare officials statewide regarding concerns from parents, students, and staff about individuals who were passengers on the Carnival Magic cruise line that sailed October 12 – 19, and the possibility of exposure to the Ebola virus.  An individual affiliated with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital was a passenger on the Carnival Magic cruise.

According to Commissioner of Health, Terry Cline, the passenger who was a Texas Health Presbyterian laboratory worker was confirmed to be free of any symptoms of illness during the entire period of time they were a passenger on this cruise. In addition, in an abundance of caution, this individual was tested for Ebola virus and was negative.

The Ebola virus can only be transmitted by a person experiencing symptoms of illness due to Ebola disease and only by direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person, or materials such as needles or medical gloves contaminated with the blood or body fluids of someone who is ill with Ebola virus disease.  Ebola virus is not an airborne disease.

Based on this information, the OSDH is not recommending any restrictions of attending school, daycare, and other public activities among the passengers of this cruise.  If you have any further questions, please contact the OSDH, Acute Disease Service at (405) 271-4060.

Original Story on 10-20-2014

Guthrie Public Schools has learned a staff member was on the same Carnival Cruise as a lab technician that handled the Ebola patient’s specimens at Texas Presbyterian Hospital.

EbolaSuperintendent Dr. Mike Simpson learned of the situation on Sunday evening. On Monday morning, he alerted parents with a mass phone call and an email.

“The lab technician has tested negative of the Ebola strain and is not exhibiting any signs or symptoms of the virus, but the 21 day Ebola virus incubation period has yet to expire,” Simpson said in a letter that will be sent out to each student in the school district.

Simpson says and reaffirms the GPS staff member will not report to work until the district can confirm the lab technician has been “cleared” and there is no medical threat.

“I want to stress, at no time since the potential exposure, has the staff member been in contact with students or staff,” Simpson said.

The school district says they will continue to monitor the situation and follow the recommendations of the Logan County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control.

“I can assure you we will always keep the safety and health of our students as our highest priority,” Simpson said.

Four other school districts (Newcastle, Moore, Mustang and Blanchard) are also being proactive after they say students and staff were on a cruise with the Dallas healthcare worker who treated Thomas Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.

  1. October 21, 2014 at 10:44 am

    We alerted parents in a mass email because a staff member was on the same ship as a LAB tech?? This is getting out of hand. You’re more likely to die of the flu.

    • October 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Upon further reflection, “we” would probably have yelled if he *didn’t* send an email.

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