- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon health officials have designated six hospital systems as the go-to centers for treatment in case a person in the state is suspected of having Ebola or is diagnosed with the disease.

The hospitals systems, announced at a press conference on Monday, are Oregon Health & Science University, Legacy Health, Peace Health, Providence Health, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, and Samaritan Health.

There have been no cases of Ebola in Oregon.

Gov. John Kitzhaber said he won’t impose a mandatory quarantine on people returning from Ebola-affected regions who don’t show symptoms of the disease, because it’s medically unnecessary.

“The progression of the disease is clear,” Kitzhaber said, referring to the fact that Ebola is contagious only when someone is symptomatic. A mandatory quarantine could also overwhelm the capacity of the state’s hospitals, Kitzhaber added.

Symptoms of Ebola include fever, vomiting or diarrhea, health officials say. The virus is transmitted via bodily fluids such as sweat or saliva; it is not airborne.

New Jersey and New York announced mandatory quarantine policies last week. Over the weekend, the Obama administration condemned those policies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the monitoring for 21 days to track travelers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone who have not been exposed to Ebola. Monitoring involves the person self-reporting twice daily on his/her temperature and any symptoms.

Health officials in Oregon said they’re currently monitoring one person from West Africa for symptoms of the disease. The person, who is staying with a host family in Multnomah County, came from the Ebola-affected region, but did not come into contact with Ebola patients and has no symptoms, officials said.

The person is “at remote or no risk” for the disease, said Paul Lewis, health officer for Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties.

It’s the second person that was being monitored in the tri-county area; the first came off the 21-day period this weekend, Lewis said. The incubation period for Ebola lasts three weeks.

Oregon is also asking people who have no symptoms but who have come in contact with Ebola patients or exposed relatives to undergo a voluntary 21-day quarantine at home.

The CDC on Monday clarified it recommends voluntary, at-home quarantine for travelers from West Africa who are at highest risk for coming down with Ebola, and symptom monitoring for those at lower risk.

If a person does develop symptoms, the person would be isolated and sent to one of the six designated hospital systems or to a federally-designated facility, officials say.

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