Rep. Maxine Waters on Monday requested a meeting with officials from Los Angeles International Airport and a variety of federal agencies to discuss procedures being taken to screen passengers and respond to potential cases of Ebola at the airport.
“There is growing concern in the community about the threat that Ebola poses to public health,” Waters, D-Los Angeles, wrote in a letter to Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey.
“… Given the potential for the spread of Ebola through air travel, it is critical that officials in the community surrounding LAX understand the procedures that are being followed at LAX to protect passengers, employees and the community.”
LAX Public Relations Manager Nancy Suey Castles told City News Service, “Los Angeles World Airports staff looks forward to presenting the procedures and protocols in place for receiving sick passengers arriving on international or domestic flights who may exhibit Ebola-like symptoms and receiving updated guidance from the involved federal agencies.”
LAWA executives are scheduled to speak at Tuesday’s Los Angeles City Council meeting as part of the city’s Emergency Management Department’s presentation on citywide efforts regarding Ebola measures, Castles said.
Los Angeles County interim Director of Public Health Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Downing and Los Angeles Fire Department Deputy Chief Mario Rueda are also scheduled to speak at the presentation, according to an aide to Councilman Paul Koretz, who introduced the motion calling on applicable city departments to report to the council to discuss best practices for informing and safeguarding city residents concerning Ebola.
Waters requested a meeting with Lindsey and officials with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She said she also planned to invite area mayors to attend the meeting.
Federal authorities have implemented stepped-up screening of incoming passengers from West Africa at five U.S. airports, but LAX is not among them.
The screening — which involves questioning and checking temperatures of passengers — is being conducted at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Health officials have said there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in California.
Earlier this month, however, an LAX passenger who had recently traveled to Liberia was taken by ambulance to Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood. The person was kept in isolation while tests were conducted at the hospital and released a few days later.
— City News Service