Local health agencies gearing up over Ebola concerns

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – The Centers for Disease Control says, “We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control,” now that a case of the disease has surfaced in the United States, and hospitals in St. Louis are scrambling to prepare just in case Ebola surfaces here.

Officials at St. Louis University Hospital say their plan for dealing with the virus is organic right now, changing constantly as new information comes in.  For example, the protective suits currently in place for health care providers to wear could be reevaluated in the wake of the case involving a Dallas nurse.

“The personal  protective equipment that we may have used last week has now evolved into more so we are doing daily training and drills with our staff and doing planning every day,” Nancy Noedel, SLU Hospital’s chief quality officer told us.

Noedel is responsible for all the hospital’s preparations to handle a case.  She takes the work personally.  She’s nurse herself, and her daughter is also a nurse in an emergency room.

“I am concerned, but the most important thing we need to do is be prepared and have the training in place and have drills and practice.  If we are able to do that, Atlanta has had those patients; Nebraska has had those patients, and cared for them successfully.”

Training and calls with the CDC are becoming a constant, and if a case arrives, the person will be quickly isolated.  After that, hospital workers will be asked who is willing to put themselves in harm’s way to provide the care that’s needed.

“Potentially, if we had someone who was admitted, to set up a special unit then ask for volunteers to take care of those patients.”