Mahoning health officials prepared for Ebola outbreak

(AP Photo/CDC)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Are area hospitals and health officials prepared for an infectious disease case like Ebola?

Community Health Systems, parent company of ValleyCare Health System of Ohio, and Humility of Mary Health Partners said they have infection control protocols in place. It includes putting the patient in isolation and medical staff wearing gowns, gloves and masks to protect themselves.

HMHP released the following statement in response to a question about whether they are prepared:

“As a part of Mercy Health, Humility of Mary Health Partners works very closely with the Centers for Disease Control and local health departments to be aware of and prepared for any health concerns.””St. Elizabeth, St. Elizabeth Boardman and St. Joseph health centers are prepared with personal protective equipment to protect against direct skin and mucous membrane exposure. This includes masks that cover the eyes, nose and mouth. Protocols are in place at all our locations to identify any patient who comes to us with the signs and symptoms of any sort of infectious disease and procedures are in place to assure proper isolation measures.””In addition, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered hospital disinfectants with a label claim for non-enveloped viruses (norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, poliovirus) are used to disinfect environmental services in rooms of patients with infectious diseases.”

Officials with Sharon Regional released this statement:

“Sharon Regional Health System is dedicated to providing patients with high quality care in a safe environment. Although the risk is low, if a patient exhibits symptoms of Ebola, we are prepared to follow infection control protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention beginning with placing the patient in isolation. Medical personnel who enter the room would be protected with gowns, masks, face shields and gloves, and nonessential staff and visitors would be restricted from entering. The suspected case would be reported to local and state health departments and the CDC and we would continue to follow their guidance.”

Next week, hospitals, Emergency Medical Services personnel, health care providers and emergency management officials will all meet to go over protocols. The Mahoning County Health Care Coalition wants to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to treating an infectious disease.

“So that the messages are consistent. Number one, that the information is accurate and given out appropriately and that we are not acting, doing anything in cross purposes so that we are all moving forward. Saves time, saves precious time,” Mahoning County Health Commissioner Pat Sweeney said.

The CDC has a list of standards that hospitals and health department should follow.

“How do we make certain that we have the appropriate quarantine rules in place and all the authorities we need to have in place should that be necessary,” Sweeney said.

The Mahoning County District Board of Health’s medical director said he is not really concerned about Ebola and the public should not be concerned either.

“It is not a large exposure. Much different than other situations where we have had people who have been contagious who have been on a cross-Atlantic airplane,” Dr. John Venglarcik said.

He is calling for doctors and hospitals to ask the right questions to travelers so proper screenings can be done.

“There is a lot of people who travel who come back with a fever, so you are going to have a lot of individuals coming through, but we are just going to have to screen. We have done it before with SARS,” Venglarcik said.

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