Physicians have been practicing donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment as part of the System's infectious disease preparations. 

The Ebola-Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) outbreak in Western Africa has many healthcare systems in the United States on alert for any travelers coming from high-risk countries who may have been potentially exposed to the virus.

System leaders, infectious disease specialists, emergency management personnel, physicians and nurses – among many others – have been planning since summer for the possibility of Ebola spreading within the United States.

In fact, the White House recently praised Carolinas Medical Center for how it handled a patient in July that presented with Ebola-like symptoms, but ultimately turned out to be negative.

"It is a testimony to the dedication of the nursing and physician staff at CMC and across the System … to quickly put into place safe care guidelines for any patient with presumed or confirmed Ebola,” Katie Passaretti, MD, medical director for Infection Prevention, CHS Metro Facilities, said. “Many thanks to the staff from nursing, physician, lab, respiratory, radiology, EVS, security, POM, infection prevention and many more who have volunteered to help with preparation or patient care. CMC remains the primary assessment center site for the primary enterprise while we are evaluating other possible locations for additional support.”

Care teams have enacted the following protocols:

  • Signs and symptoms of Ebola have been reviewed with care teams
  • We have established a team of infection prevention and emergency response experts
  • Screening protocols are in place for high-risk patients (those who have traveled to Africa within 21 days and show infectious symptoms) to identify and isolate suspected patients quickly
  • Training on proper use and correct disposal of personal protective equipment – like gowns, gloves, foot covers, surgical masks and eye shields – is ongoing with all staff that might come into contact with an infected patient, and we have ample supplies
  • An area within Carolinas Medical Center has been identified for Ebola-infected patients where they can be isolated and treated away from other patients
  • Protocols are in place so all Ebola-related tests and blood work is handled separately from day-to-day testing to protect other patients and lab workers

North Carolina residents – including teammates – can also report symptoms or ask Ebola-related questions by calling the North Carolina Ebola Public Information Line: 1-844-836-8714. The line is staffed by Carolinas Poison Center, which is administered by Carolinas HealthCare System. 

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