Cape Health Officials Prep for Ebola–Just in Case

Ebola virus shown at 108,000 magnification.

Ebola virus shown at 108,000 magnification.

BARNSTABLE – With multiple scares of possible Ebola cases in the Commonwealth over the weekend, Governor Deval Patrick, state and Boston officials addressed the public Tuesday on the level of preparedness in the state.

Cape Cod Healthcare officials said they are several weeks into a preparation program that began with federal health officials last month.

Cape Cod Healthcare is the parent company of Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital.

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Among the various systems already in place in the emergency rooms of those facilities is a screening protocol in which patients with certain symptoms are asked about travel to Africa.

That questioning takes place in the emergency rooms and urgent care centers of Cape Cod Healthcare facilities, according to Cape Cod Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Donald Guadagnoli.

Dr. Guadagnoli said Cape Cod Healthcare put processes in place a few weeks ago. “We’re basically screening all patients that come into the triage area,” he said.

If a patient has traveled to Africa, Cape Cod Healthcare has a process in place to isolate the patient and equip staff with protective gear.

“If someone hasn’t traveled to Africa, there’s really no need to bring them down an Ebola path,” Dr. Guadagnoli said.

Georgia Dash, Cape Cod Healthcare’s Director of Infection Prevention, said a number of precautions are in place should a patient be diagnosed with the disease.

“We would bring the patient right back into our negative pressure rooms in the emergency department and then institute all the special pathogen precautions,” she said.

A special pathogens cart has already been assembled that includes all the protective apparel and equipment needed to treat an Ebola patient.

In addition, drills have been conducted to prepare staff in the event of an actual case.