Calif. Hospitals Awaiting Regional, Statewide Ebola Directives
California hospitals say they are awaiting a regional or statewide plan for responding to and treating Ebola patients, KQED's "State of Health" reports.
In the meantime, hospitals are working to align their Ebola response protocols with CDC's updated guidelines, according to "State of Health" (Dembosky, "State of Health," KQED, 10/23).
Details of Hospitals Concerns
Some hospitals are concerned about how to dispose of medical waste that would come from treating Ebola-infected patients. CDC recommends burning such waste, but California Hospital Association spokesperson Jan Emerson-Shea said that is not an option in California, as the state "effectively prohibits" the practice.
In addition, public health officials are grappling with ways to disseminate accurate information about the virus. For example, Alameda County is working to develop an outreach campaign to educate the public, according to Muntu Davis, the county's public health officer.
The California Department of Public Health said it will provide some assistance to hospitals, but James Watt -- chief of communicable disease control at the agency -- said much of the responsibility lies with individual hospitals.
Watt said, "The reality is that every hospital situation is unique," adding, "That's why it's really important for the training and the planning to be done at the facility level" ("State of Health, KQED, 10/23).
Nurses Say Calif. Not Ready for Ebola
Meanwhile, the California Nurses Association this week told Gov. Jerry Brown (D) that the state is not prepared to handle an Ebola outbreak and called for increased training and protective gear for the state's nurses, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Siders, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/21).
On Tuesday, Brown met with CNA and National Nurses United to discuss the groups' requests to additional training and safety precautions related to the virus (California Healthline, 10/20).
According to "Capitol Alert," Brown did not issue any new regulations, but he said that "officials are taking steps to help ensure health care workers, hospitals and first responders are prepared to treat and care for patients with Ebola."
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of CNA and NNU, said the meeting was "extremely productive," adding that she thinks Brown "will actually move an agenda for the country" ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/21).
Sacramento Monitoring Two Patients
In related news, Sacramento county health officials said two people who have traveled to the area from Ebola-affected countries in the last month are being monitored for symptoms, as per the CDC guidelines, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports.
Public Health Officer Olivia Kasirye said the two people have not shown symptoms of the disease, but they are being asked to report their temperatures twice per day. She added, "Those two are very low risk, they did visit those countries, but they didn't come into any contact with anyone who was sick while they were there" (Bartolone, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 10/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.