A federal customs official at New Jersey’s Newark International Airport says that they are not trained or equipped to face passengers who might be infected with Ebola.
President Barack Obama finally announced that five of the nations largest international airports will begin Ebola screenings in an effort to identify possible Ebola carriers and prevent an outbreak here at home.
Federal officials plan to implement the new screening regime at New York’s Kennedy International, Washington D.C.’s Dulles, Chicago’s O’Hare, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, and Newark’s Liberty International.
But a new report by a Customs agent at Newark’s Liberty Airport says they are not ready at all if Ebola happens to show up in New Jersey.
“They are assuring the public everything is being done, but it is not,” the agent told New York’s NBC 4.
The agent, who wanted to stay anonymous, noted that no doctors or CDC personnel had been assigned to his airport for any flights from Africa or countries with connecting flights to Ebola effected areas.
The incident that most sparked the agent’s alarm occurred last Saturday when a passenger from Liberia arrived sick and vomiting on a flight in Newark, New Jersey.
The agent said that other passengers on the plane were allowed to go on their way as federal officials took the sick passenger and a companion to a local hospital. While the passenger was eventually cleared of Ebola, the agent noted that they way the situation was handled seemed all wrong.
He also noted that “a panic ensued” among his coworkers and that the whole situation was “a disaster.”
This unnamed Customs agent isn’t the only one saying that few are prepared for Ebola. A nurses union recently contradicted the CDC’s Dr. Thomas Frieden who claimed that all of America’s hospitals are ready for Ebola.
The union said that nurses don’t feel adequately trained, that few hospitals have enough protocols put in place and that many hospitals don’t even have enough protective gear in storerooms to handle an outbreak.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at email@example.com.