On Oct. 24, the University of California (UC) Office of the President confirmed in a press release that the UC Davis Medical Center (UCDMC) in Sacramento will be one of five UC medical centers prepared to take in and treat officially-diagnosed Ebola patients. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) now recognizes all five UC medical centers (Davis, Irvine, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco) as priority care facilities.
The potentially fatal virus can be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids. According to the release, any patient confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be treated at any of the UC facilities while other hospitals in the state continue to await CDC clearance.
“The [UC Davis] Medical Center was chosen because of the infection prevention expertise of our physicians and nurses and because [UC Davis has] been preparing since September,” said Carol Robinson, chief nursing officer at UC Davis Medical Center. “It takes extraordinary energy to keep up with the daily and sometimes hourly updates from the CDC and other organizations, and the UC Davis Medical Center has the resources and capacity to implement changes quickly.”
According to the press release, CDC updated personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance to meet California’s higher standards, and state officials are to partner with these facilities for assurance of proper medical waste handling and disposal. CDPH will assist the five centers with obtaining equipment, if needed.
Nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and environmental service workers have been receiving ongoing training as personnel continue to practice with PPE. Proper dressing and removal of equipment is crucial for protecting a worker’s skin from coming into contact with an exposed patient’s bodily fluids.
In addition to prepared front-line staff, training has also been applied to volunteers who received preparation instructions as intense as other personnel training.
Although one patient was admitted to the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center for possible Ebola exposure in early August, tests returned negative, and Robinson states that the likelihood for the center to come across a case is low.
“It has been determined that it is highly unlikely that an Ebola patient would arrive in Sacramento, but UCDMC is preparing for the unexpected, and communication lines between the Sacramento County Public Health Director and the medical center are open.” Robinson said.
Graphic by Courtesy