Ebola Preparedness at Platte Valley Medical Center

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Charmaine Weis, (303) 498-1482 or cweis@pvmc.org

October 20, 2014 (Brighton, CO) – With the news of Ebola hitting our nation, questions have arisen in the community as to how Platte Valley Medical Center would respond in the unlikely event of exposure. To ease concern, Platte Valley Medical Center (PVMC) announced that it is closely monitoring the ever-evolving developments on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and actively implementing recommendations to achieve appropriate levels of preparedness. PVMC is partnering with the Colorado Hospital Association (CHA), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Tri-County Health Department, and state-wide and local medical and emergency response teams to respond to the threat of EVD.

For the past two weeks, patients arriving at PVMC have been screened for viral symptoms and asked if they have recently traveled to West Africa. Should someone appear to have symptoms, the Emergency Department staff would immediately place them in one of the hospital’s private negative airflow isolation rooms and immediately implement recommended guidelines.

PVMC’s Emergency Department staff is trained in the proper donning and doffing methods for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of exposure. Additionally, PVMC is using the resources, guidance, and materials provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Tri-County Health Department, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to educate staff on the risks and symptoms associated with EVD; all-employee town hall meetings have been held; and emergency management meetings with local police and fire departments have been initiated.

What is Ebola?

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a severe, viral infectious disease. It is spread through direct contact (through mucus membranes or broken skin) with blood, organs or bodily secretions from an infected person, and from surfaces or materials contaminated with these fluids.

What are the symptoms?

It is important to note that EVD is not contagious or transmissible until a person begins to show symptoms. EVD has an incubation period of 2 to 21 days. Early EVD symptoms are: fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat (symptoms do not include cough, congestion, or runny nose). More severe symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, internal and external bleeding appear as the disease progresses.

How can you protect your family?

The risk of getting of Ebola is extremely low. In fact, your risk of getting the flu is much higher. Unlike the flu, which is transmitted airborne, you can only get Ebola through direct contact with blood and bodily fluids. To protect and boost your family’s overall health, follow these good health habits daily:

  1. Encourage frequent hand washing, especially after using the bathroom and before eating, or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  2. Get everyone in the family a flu shot, especially young children and the elderly.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  5. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and don’t go to work or school while sick.

For more helpful information and resources, please visit https://www.colorado.gov/cdphe and http://www.cdc.gov/ebola and http://www.cdc.gov/flu. Alternatively, you can call the CDPHE information hotlines at 303-389-1687 or toll free at 877-462-2911.

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