ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Gov. Martin O’Malley joined with some of the state’s top health officials to talk about how Maryland is responding and preparing for any possible cases of the Ebola virus.

Derek Valcourt has more on the steps the state is taking.

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So far there have been no cases of Ebola diagnosed in Maryland, but health officials say they aren’t waiting to see one before they start preparing.

The governor’s press conference came just hours after an Ebola infected nurse arrived in Bethesda from Texas for treatment at NIH.

“I was not terribly surprised at that movement, and there may be others,” O’Malley said.

Gov. O’Malley and top health staff are trying to ease any concerns citizens may have about Ebola potentially spreading in Maryland.

“We are home to Johns Hopkins. We are home to the best and most highly skilled public health professionals anywhere in the world,” the governor said.

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Planning and preparations began in early August. Priority No. 1 was making sure medical staff can properly identify potential Ebola patients–as they try to avoid scenarios like what happened to Thomas Eric Duncan, who was reportedly sent home from a Texas hospital despite questions about his recent travel to Liberia.

Health officials are preparing to isolate and treat patients when needed. Hospitals like Johns Hopkins say its making sure staff receive proper training since many health workers in Africa and the two nurses in Texas have been infected despite wearing proper protective gear.

“We’re actually using things like red paint on the outside of the personal protective equipment in our training sessions so that healthcare workers can see ‘Oh I removed the personal protective equipment, and I got some red paint on my hand or my cheek,’ so they’re practicing that procedure again and again and again,” said Dr. Lisa Maragakis, Johns Hopkins Hospital.

And since early symptoms of Ebola mimic flu symptoms,  the governor says every citizen can help by getting a flu shot.

“We are heading into flu season. The fewer people in Maryland who come down with the flu, the fewer false positives we will have to run down as we contain and isolate and stop any spread of Ebola here,” O’Malley said.

Maryland health officials say emergency medical personnel, ambulances and hospital workers, all have necessary personal protective gear and they say that equipment is also available to law enforcement if needed.

The Maryland state health lab is one of 13 labs in the country authorized by the CDC to conduct tests for Ebola.

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