The legislators of the 11th and 13th districts have jointly written the Acting Commissioner of the NJ Department of Human Services requesting that the facilities designated to quarantine travelers from Western Africa arriving at Newark-Liberty Airport for 21 days to ensure that they have not contracted the Ebola virus be closed when the agency’s current agreement with the Fort Monmouth Redevelopment Authority expires on June 30th.
The letter, dated March 1 and signed by Senators Joe Kyrillos (R-13) and Jennifer Beck (R-11) as well as Assembly members Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), Amy Handlin (R-11), Caroline Casagrande (R-11) and Mary Pat Angelini (R-11) reiterates the law makers’ concerns expressed in a Februay 3 letter to Commissioner Jennifer Velez, Esq. regarding the lack of notice to the public and elected officials regarding the designation of the facility and the negative impact the facility could have on the marketing of Fort Monmouth properties.
In a February 12 letter to the legislators, Velez said that to date no travelers have been quarantined since Governor Christie activated a statewide Ebola preparedness plan in October of last year. The Fort Monmouth location would not be used for treating Ebola patients or a “biocontaiment center”, but as a quarantine facility for asymptomatic travelers who do not live in New Jersey for 21 days or until the State could arrange for them to be safely transported to their home state. New Jersey residents returning from Western African countries are quarantined in their own homes.
Velez resigned from the Christie Administration on February 17. The legislators’ letter dated yesterday was address to Acting Commissioner Elizabeth Connelly.
Eatontown Mayor Dennis Connelly (no relation to the Acting Commissioner) and FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman told WordOnTheShore that they do not expect that the fourteen housing units designated to quarantine potential Ebola patients will ever be used for that purpose.