JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Potential cases of the Ebola virus now can be tested in a Jefferson City lab, Gov. Jay Nixon said Friday.
Nixon said the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory can check potential Ebola samples before a confirmation testing with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The governor asked the state Department of Health and Senior Services to apply to the federal government for the designation earlier this month.
Nixon said the lab is one of about 20 in the country with that permission.
There are no reported cases of Ebola in Missouri. If there is a case, Nixon said testing at the lab could speed health providers' response time.
"We stand ready to respond to suspected cases of Ebola should one ever occur in Missouri," Nixon said while visiting the lab. "This designation will give us the ability to quickly assist health professionals by performing the presumptive test here."
The governor's statement came the same day Attorney General Chris Koster announced he's trying to prevent a sterilization company from handling any medical waste contaminated with Ebola at its St. Louis facility.
Koster said he has asked a St. Louis Circuit judge to grant a temporary restraining order against Stericycle Inc., saying that treating potentially infected waste would pose a threat to workers.
Calls from The Associated Press to Stericycle's headquarters in Lake Forest, Illinois, were not immediately returned Friday.
Stericycle received a federal permit earlier this month to remove waste from the Texas hospital and home where a man with Ebola stayed before he died.
Koster's court filing also alleges that the St. Louis facility violated the waste-management law in the past by failing to properly test and operate its equipment or track infectious materials.
"This facility has a history of violations in the handling of medical waste," Koster said in a written statement. "We should not allow this company to transport Ebola waste into our state without absolute assurances of safety."
A hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.