The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning hospitals and doctors that “now is the time to prepare,” has issued a six-page Ebola “checklist” to help healthcare workers quickly determine if patients are infected.
While the CDC does not believe that there are new cases of Ebola in the United States, the assumption in the checklist is that it is only a matter of time before the virus hits home.
For example, one part reads: “Encourage healthcare personnel to use a ‘buddy system’ when caring for patients.” Another recommends a process to report cases to top officials:
Plan for regular situational briefs for decision-makers, including:
— Suspected and confirmed EVD patients who have been identified and reported to public health authorities.
— Isolation, quarantine and exposure reports.
— Supplies and logistical challenges.
— Personnel status, and policy decisions on contingency plans and staffing.
The checklist has been distributed to major hospitals and even little ones, including an urgent center in Leesburg, Va.
“Every hospital should ensure that it can detect a patient with Ebola, protect healthcare workers so they can safely care for the patient, and respond in a coordinated fashion,” warns the CDC.
“While we are not aware of any domestic Ebola Virus Disease cases (other than two American citizens who were medically evacuated to the United States), now is the time to prepare, as it is possible that individuals with EVD in West Africa may travel to the United States, exhibit signs and symptoms of EVD, and present to facilities,” it adds.
Several hospital and medical websites have just begun to post the checklist online.