While there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola Virus Disease in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are requiring that hospitals prepare to care for patients with Ebola.
Pagosa Springs Medical Center has an isolation unit to treat any Ebola exposed patients who may seek care. This unit is designed to allow for the proper facilities, equipment and resources, as well as infection control practices, to ensure patient and staff safety. Access to the isolation unit will be tightly restricted. All necessary agencies will be notified to assist and transport patients to one of the priority hospitals ready to treat patients with Ebola.
Pagosa Springs Medical Center launched preparations for an Ebola response early in October by establishing a task force that includes key stakeholders from Nursing, Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, Infection Control, San Juan Basin Public Health Department, and the Office of Emergency Management. The task force has developed a preparedness plan, including internal and public communications protocols, identification of the lead medical team who will coordinate with the CDC and CDPHE the proper care, waste management, infection control, and transport.
Enhanced training is also being provided to staff, nurses, lab staff, respiratory therapists, and physicians who have volunteered to care for Ebola infected patients. These dedicated professionals have begun thorough training on proper use, including donning and doffing (putting on and taking off) personal protective equipment (PPE) on hand. The medical center is using the most current CDC recommendations for PPE processes.
Pagosa Springs Medical Center has also adopted CDC guidelines for patient evaluation with evolving patient flow protocols for reducing the risk of infection to others if an Ebola exposed patient arrives at the medical center or calls 911.
All visitors to Pagosa Springs Medical Center will see Ebola notices and will be screened for the following three risk factors prior to registering:
1) travel in the last 21 days to a country with widespread Ebola exposure,
2) contact with anyone diagnosed with or suspected of having been exposed to Ebola in the last 21 days, and
3) symptoms of Ebola, such as, a fever, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
For more information on Ebola, contact CDPHE at 303-389-1687 or 877-462-2911 or visit the CDC at www.cdc.gov/ebola.