- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that New York state is ready to tackle the Ebola virus - even if it never arrives.

Cuomo said eight hospitals across the state are especially prepared with go-to teams that have been drilled in anti-Ebola protocols. In addition, officials said public transportation systems including New York City’s subways and buses are on the alert for possible passengers carrying the virus.

Starting Monday, medical experts will be dispatched to hospitals to make sure they have the needed equipment and training for possible Ebola cases, Cuomo said at a news conference.

“Protecting the people of this state is one of our top priorities in government, and I want all New Yorkers to know that we are doing everything necessary to safeguard against the risks of Ebola,” he said. “Today I’m announcing a thorough effort involving multiple state agencies and authorities that will ensure we are prepared to address even the slightest possibility of this disease.”

But the governor said New Yorkers’ anxiety level is higher than the probability of the deadly virus arriving here.

Cuomo said he counts himself among “the anxious types.”

He also announced that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would coordinate safety procedures at all area airports to ensure proper training is in place. The agency will deploy two ambulances at any given time at each airport to transport possible Ebola patients, Cuomo said.

He said the necessary equipment and training also will be implemented for subway, bus and commuter railroad customers.

The eight hospitals that have been designated to handle patients diagnosed with Ebola are Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital, the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, the Bellevue Hospital Center, the Montefiore Hospital Center, the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, the Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island.

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