Oct. 15, 2014 (SACRAMENTO) During a teleconference with media from across the state, Ron Chapman, M.D., MPH, head of the State Department of Health, said:
“We are working with local health offices and hospitals, and health care systems, looking at hospitals readiness and capacity whether there needs to be identified hospitals caring for Ebola patients.” This is an important point, since each hospital is responsible for developing their plans, and training their personnel. The state cannot come down and tell each facility how to do it since plans depend on facility layout and on facility personnel.
He also said that they are monitoring the situation in Texas, which is changing hour by hour, and have activated the Office of Emergency Preparedness command center. Earlier in the day we learned that Cleveland County in Ohio did likewise.
Doctor Gilberto Chavez M.D.., M.P.H leads the Center for Infectious Diseases for the State, and is the deputy director. He said that at this time the state has “no suspected, or confirmed cases of Ebola being treated at California hospitals.” He emphasized that the state is at no public health risk.
Earlier in the crisis we had one patient in Los Angeles and another in Sacramento that were suspected of having Ebola, but tested negative.
When speaking of the how long this virus remains in the environment, he said that it was very difficult to contract because it survived in dry surfaces for hours at best. It could survive longer while in blood, vomit and other bodily fluids, why health care workers, and relatives in Africa taking care of family members, are at the highest risk
As far as the Protective Personal Equipment is concerned, which is a point that that nurses have raised. State specialists said that while they are following Centers for Disease Control Guidelines, CAL OSHA and industrial relations is also reviewing the guidelines with stake holders. They also were critical in pointing out that the development of plans and how to carry them out is facility specific.
What is critical to understand is “that this is an evolving situation and we want to better learn from the situations out there.” Chapman added that “it should give us all pause that these health care workers got ill,” and it is important to understand how that happened so “we can adjust if we need to.”
He said that they want to learn as much from it, and adapt as needed, “to keep our health care workers safe.”
Questions were asked about airports and that San Francisco might become a future point where passengers will be screened. Officials first said this is a federal decision, not state, but also the decision of where to do this is being done as to where most of the travellers from West Africa are coming into the country.
Los Angeles County has the capacity to test for Ebola, and in case there is a need to so such, a sample will be sent to the LA County Lab, while a second sample will be sent to Atlanta for a double-check. There is a company that is licensed by both the state and the Federal Department of Transportation to do this, and they are willing to. The name of the company was not released.
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