Governor Seeks to Reassure Public on State’s Ebola Preparedness

press-conference-ebolaGovernor Pat McCrory, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos,MD, the state’s epidemiologist Megan Davies, MD, and other key members of  the Division of Public Health and state departments described how North Carolina has been preparing to respond if a case of Ebola turns up within North Carolina.

“As always, we want to be over-prepared for a possible emergency,” McCrory told the assembled press corps on Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, reiterating several times that there are no known or suspected cases of the virus currently in the state. He also said he had been in touch with the White House and part of a conference call with President Obama on the issue of Ebola preparedness.

Sec. Wos and Dr. Davies stressed the open lines of communication they have with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the national level as well as with providers and hospitals in the state to ensure everyone is fully informed and educated about the symptoms and the proper protocols to contain the virus if a case were to turn up in North Carolina.

“It’s important that every member of our community do their part,” Wos said. “We have to educate everyone. We are training our professionals. Working with the hospital association and the medical society to educate providers.”

The latest guidance for providers from the NC Division of Public Health was released today, Wednesday, Oct. 15. The division also provided a flow chart showing the procedure if a patient with Ebola-like symptoms presents in an office setting. Zack Moore, MD, MPH, Medical Epidemiologist with the NC Department of Health and Human Services Communicable Disease Branch, will address the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) House of Delegates on Friday, Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. at the NCMS Annual Meeting at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro. There is still time to register for this meeting.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also have a website where the most comprehensive and updated information is available for providers.

To help answer questions the public may have in North Carolina, the state launched a public hotline Monday evening. That number is 800-222-1222.

Dr. Davies said that the state lab is ready to test any blood samples for possible Ebola, although results may take between six and 24 hours. She also said that the majority of hospitals in the state had completed response drills and exercises for care givers in putting on and taking off protective gear.

“We have a lot of interest in [health care providers] doing the right thing here,” she said.

 
 

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1 Comment

  • Jim Sackhouse, MD

    “State lab will be ready to test.”
    But as Emory found out, even Class A rated carriers of such samples would not offer their services to the hospital for such speciman transfer.
    At least one big lab serving NC has already sent out notices that they will not be accepting blood from suspected patients.
    Emory thought ahead, and did not process any blood through its own hospital lab for fear of dropping a tube, and having to close down the lab for days of decomination.
    I hope that the State has actually done a walk through of what happens when a suspected patient shows up at 6 PM on Thursday night, at a local hospital, in a county where the health department is only open Monday through Thursday, with no night number (such as my county).