No Ebola in D.C., but hospitals still prepared

WASHINGTON — There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the District, but the city’s Health Department Director says more than 12 people with suspected cases have been isolated and watched in the city recently.

Dr. Joxell Garcia says none turned out to actually have the virus.

Garcia says city hospitals that have emergency rooms are prepared in case they have to treat an actual case, and he’s not in favor of designating just one hospital to handle Ebola.

“My goal is to have all hospitals as prepared as they can be,” Joxell said at a Thursday briefing to reporters.

Garcia emphasized several times that the disease is not airborne, and can only be spread by contact with bodily fluids.

“There’s not going to be an epidemic in District while I’m here…because we can control the disease,” he assured.

Garcia says although the CDC provides guidelines for handling the virus, he will work with universities in the city to create a task force.

That group will try to come up with new ideas for preparing for and handling Ebola, because he says the city’s response is not “cut-and-paste,” it is constantly evolving.

The city has launched a new Ebola website,, aimed at both residents and the medical community.

“We will be updating that on a daily basis, and sometimes even more than a daily basis depending on what happens,” Garcia said.

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