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Minnesota Preps For Ebola Threat

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Gov. Mark Dayton says Minnesota is as ready as possible to handle an outbreak of Ebola.

Dayton met Thursday with cabinet members, airport representatives and health officials to assess the level of the state's preparedness.

The case of Thomas Duncan, a Liberian who died Wednesday of Ebola in Texas, has raised concerns around the country.

A Dallas hospital sent Duncan home after he first came in for treatment, exposing dozens of people to the deadly virus.

The case in Texas has put the spotlight on how critical it is for cases to be identified quickly.

The concern is elevated in Minnesota, which has 30,000 Liberian residents -- the largest in the country.

Decontee Sawyer's husband, Patrick, died of Ebola in Liberia in July. He was a Liberian diplomat.

"It's almost like Liberia is now synonymous with Ebola," Sawyer said.

The 34-year-old mother of three has set up the Kofa Foundation, which raises money and collects cleaning supplies to send to Liberia.

The shipment will leave Minnesota for West Africa on Friday.

"Everyone can help," she said.

Sawyer says she's grateful for the outpouring of support, and welcomes all efforts to get the state ready.

"There is a good chance that it might come here," she said. "Let's not be naive about it."

Sawyer says these are very tough times for Liberians in Minnesota. Many like her have loved ones who have died, and they also feel they are being stigmatized because of the outbreak.

Click here for more information on Sawyer's foundation.


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