Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
Risk 'Low' for Ebola Outbreak in BC
Fraser Health's Chief Medical Health Officer comments on virus
Released by Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health/Website photo
iven the extensive media coverage about Ebola, and concerns raised publicly from health workers, we want to reassure our communities that Fraser Health has response plans in place if a suspected Ebola case does present, and that those plans are being refined and updated based on the latest information and reviews from around the world.
We understand that our nurses and hospital staff, as well as the public, are concerned about the risk of Ebola. Fraser Health, like all health authorities and officials across Canada, is taking the Ebola situation seriously. We share the desire to keep our staff and the people we serve safe.
We would like to emphasize that we have not had any Ebola cases in Fraser Health hospitals, and that there are no confirmed cases in the province or within Canada. Further, there are currently no patients under investigation for Ebola virus disease in our hospitals. The patients that have presented in recent weeks were quickly ruled out by following screening protocols that are in place.
The risk of Ebola to British Columbians is low. Even if a case of Ebola arrives in Fraser Health, we are confident that the case would be quickly identified, isolated and managed. Frontline staff, clinicians and leaders in Fraser have been working together over the past few months in preparation. Education and training have been provided for front line staff and will continue over the coming weeks.
As a result of extensive discussion and evaluation with the Ministry of Health and the health authorities, a decision has been made to designate Surrey Memorial Hospital as the site to manage confirmed cases of Ebola in the Lower Mainland.
The hospital’s state-of-the-art infection control measures and laboratory and microbiology capabilities are ideal for dealing with patients who are strongly believed by having symptoms or confirmed by lab testing to have the disease. In addition, the design of the new Critical Care Tower at Surrey Memorial makes it easy to transition between higher or less levels of care as needed, and leadership at the hospital already has experience in dealing with SARS and H1N1 influenza.
This designation means any adult patient in the Lower Mainland, who has tested positive with the Ebola virus, will be transferred to Surrey Memorial Hospital for further treatment.
This means that while our staff in emergency departments across Fraser Health will be trained in assessing and isolating possible Ebola cases, staff at Surrey Memorial Hospital will receive additional training in assessment and treatment of an Ebola case.
Additionally, we are participating in a provincial Ebola preparedness coordinating task force, co-chaired by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall that will coordinate information and best practices across the health authorities. The task force is meeting regularly and will address, as a priority, equipment needs, training needs and preparedness, as well as update clinical information on how best to provide treatment and follow up in the unlikely event that a person is diagnosed with Ebola.
We are watching and learning from what is happening around the world – refining our protocols and procedures to ensure our staff and the people we serve are as safe as possible for the unlikely event that an Ebola case arrives in Fraser Health.
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