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Monday, October 20, 2014 - 10:59am

Deal Forms Ebola Task Force, Tussles Over Virus During Debates

Governor. Nathan Deal is assembling a group of experts to serve on a newly created Ebola response team.

Deal says the team will convene this week and begin issuing recommendations immediately.

In a statement Sunday he said that he'll sign an executive order to create the group, which will be tasked with evaluating Georgia's emergency management procedures and making recommendations to address potential impacts Ebola could have on Georgia.

Deal says the group will be composed of representatives from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the state Department of Community Health and other organizations — including Emory University Hospital, which has treated four Americans that have been diagnosed with the virus.

Candidates Tussle Over Ebola During Debates

During Sunday’s debates, two of the gubernatorial candidates questioned Gov. Nathan Deal’s understanding of the disease.

Their doubt follows comments by Republican Governor Nathan Deal, in which he said water could kill the deadly virus.

Democrat Jason Carter said it's important for leaders to have credibility on this issue, something he says he would bring to the job, especially following his time in the Peace Corps.

"I have been and lived in Africa at times during outbreaks,” Carter said. “It is important, more than anything else that our top leadership is communicating effectively, that our top leadership is spreading appropriate information."

Meanwhile, Libertarian Andrew Hunt said its troubling that Deal isn't knowledgeable about Ebola.

"I can be peer–on–peer with the people addressing these issues,” explained Hunt. “I can talk to them and understand exactly the programs they want to put forward, and we will address it correctly."

Governor Deal responded that his public health commissioner, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, misinformed him about using water to kill Ebola, but he defends the work she's doing.

"She is talking with hospitals and making sure first responders know exactly what they are working with and what they are going to encounter,” Deal pointed out. “I believe I have shown responsible leadership to bring all the private and public sectors together to make sure our state is protected.”


Sean Powers