Arizona makes Ebola infection protocol a top priority

By Fleur Magbanua-Mansur, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 17, 2014

PHOENIX – The health care community in Arizona is taking more aggressive steps to make sure that what happened in Dallas is not repeated there.

Although there is no reported Ebola case in Arizona, the Department of Health Services is not taking any chances.

“Our top priority right now is to make sure that if we end up getting a case of Ebola here in Arizona, is that we identify that person right away,” said Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Because that’s really the key to preventing future cases, because if you can identify a person early before they’re very infectious, you can get them into isolation so that they don’t infect other people.”

He warned health care providers to be meticulous in following infection control protocols: identify potential Ebola case and know the travel history, initiate isolation procedure, and follow infection control.

“Before they start treating the patient, that they are familiar with and execute the right kinds of infection protection so that they as the health care worker don’t get sick as we’ve seen in Texas,” said Humble. “It’s a detailed protocol, but it’s doable.”

With the possibility of an Ebola outbreak in other states including Arizona, some nurses said they’re not ready to battle against an epidemic.

“We still need more, to be knowledgeable on what’s going on around right now with this Ebola virus,” said Rod Bulatao, a Registered Nurse. “At least we got this simple training, but it protects you simple also. But if we can have the opportunity to be trained more on personal protective equipment, it will be good.”

To be proactive, some health care facilities began training clinicians on Ebola preparedness, including practicing donning and doffing personal protective equipment.

“We are very concerned,” said Paula Ginkel, Director of Clinical Patient Services. “We want our staff to be safe and we want to be prepared ahead of time.”

The Ebola virus has claimed more than 4,000 lives to date. The number of sick people continues to rise.

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