Right now, Ebola does not pose an imminent risk to residents in the Ohio Valley, but a local hospital wants to make sure everyone from first responders to residents are knowledgeable about the disease, and prepared.
Trinity Health System has done a lot of behind the scenes work over the past few months, to prepare if a case were to even pop up in the area. They have put together an Ebola preparedness team, lead by infectious disease specialist Dr. Kenneth Woods.
“Within the next few days, we will basically run through a mock situation where the patient will present where I’m a fake patient that presents with a travel history and compatible illness and then start our emergency preparedness hotline and start that entire chain of command,” Woods said.
Trinity Health System’s preparedness event is just the first of many meetings in order to open that line of communication between health officials and first responders and law enforcement. Steubenville Health Commissioner Shaleeta Smith said Steubenville is ready if an Ebola case were to occur.
“Collaboratively between the city health department and the county health department we have pretty good information we are receiving information from the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health and as information comes about we are sending out to local agencies,” Smith said.
Dr. Woods said the best way to stay protected is to wash your hands when coming into contact with people in the community, especially when traveling.
EMS and first responders will begin training sessions by Friday. They are asking that when residents call 911 or EMS, to answer all of the questions and cooperate with the call screening process.