Despite no Ebola cases in state, Eau Claire partners working on plan
NEWS RELEASE FROM THE EAU CLAIRE CITY/COUNTY HEALTH DEPT.:
Eau Claire, WI – Oct. 31, 2014 — Community partners in Eau Claire are preparing in the event the Ebola virus is diagnosed here – even though there are no cases now. This team (Mayo Clinic
Health System, Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS Sacred Heart and HSHS St. Joseph's), OakLeaf Surgical Hospital, EMS-Eau Claire Fire and Rescue, City-County 911, County Emergency Management, and the Health Department) is working together to develop coordinated response plans, identify appropriate equipment/supplies, and assure updated procedures.
The Eau Claire Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP committee), which includes all of these partners along with other members, has been meeting for more than ten years to develop coordinated plans, exercise these plans, and strengthen coordinated response/communication in the event of a public health emergency. Health system partners play a key role in a coordinated response to any communicable disease. The PHEP committee met this week and had additional conversation on roles/responsibilities with Ebola.
“At this time, there are no reported cases of Ebola in Wisconsin, and the risk of contracting it remains extremely low,” said Julie Manas, President and CEO, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital. “Preparing and collaborating on the federal, state, and local level will ensure that the public and health care providers receive prompt public health information now and in the future.” All partners are receiving federal, state, and local updates and regularly communicating about current procedures and recommendations.
“People are naturally concerned about the Ebola virus,” said Ann Hargrave-Thomas, CEO, OakLeaf Surgical Hospital. “While we work together to prepare, it's also important to reassure the public that Ebola can only be transmitted through contact with the body fluids of people who are sick with the virus, or who have died from it.” People that are planning travel to the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Liberia should be aware of the outbreak and communicate with their local health department about risk and recommendations. There is also a state-wide Ebola hotline where individuals can get general information if interested: 1-844-684-1064.
Health care workers and first responders are keenly aware that they must be especially vigilant with following rigorous safety practices in the event they are ever called on to assist or care for an Ebola patient. “Our hospital takes preparedness seriously,” said Randall Linton, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System sites in northwest Wisconsin. “We will
continue to review and update our plans. As always, we will treat patients with a suspected infectious disease with caution.”
“We want to stress that there are no reported cases of Ebola in Wisconsin. People in Eau Claire should not be concerned unless they have had direct contact with someone that is actually sick with Ebola,” said Lieske Giese, Health Officer/Director, Eau Claire City-County Health Department. “The Health Department remains vigilant in its monitoring of the Ebola virus, and will continue to provide our partners and the public with the most current information and guidance concerning this disease.”
For more information about the Ebola virus and Wisconsin's preparedness efforts, visit: