Local Officials, Associations in Calif. Take Steps To Reduce Ebola Risk
Local officials and professional groups across California are taking steps to mitigate the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the state.
S.F. Issues New Ebola Guidelines for 911 Dispatchers
On Thursday, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management issued new screening protocols for 911 dispatchers that include questions related to Ebola, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Under the new protocols, dispatchers are required to ask callers:
- Whether they have traveled to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone in the past 21 days; and
- Whether they are experiencing any symptoms, such as fever or vomiting, that might indicate they are infected with Ebola.
If callers say they have traveled to those countries or are experiencing Ebola-like symptoms, dispatchers will alert first responders to don protective gear before contacting the individual.
Anne Kronenberg, executive director of the department, said, "What we're doing here is an overabundance of caution" (Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/18).
Surgeon Group Issues Ebola Advisory
Meanwhile, the California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons sent an advisory to its 823 members recommending that they:
- Obtain the medical history, including travel history, of any patient that exhibits symptoms of a possible Ebola infection; and
- Protect themselves using masks, gloves, gowns and other protective equipment.
The association said that it is "unlikely" that its members will treat a patient with Ebola but that "surgeons are at a higher risk of being exposed to the deadly virus."
Doug Elmets, a spokesperson for the association, said the group wanted to create "a heightened sense of awareness" about the illness (Rauber, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 10/17).
Nurses Rally for Ebola Protections
On Thursday, nearly 550 Kaiser Permanente nurses marched in downtown Oakland to call for interactive training and better protective gear for nurses who could treat patients who have Ebola (San Jose Mercury News, 10/17). The California Nurses Association initially made the demands during ongoing contract negotiations with the health system (California Healthline, 10/15).
The demonstration came after Kaiser said it would consider economic impacts before agreeing to the requests (San Jose Mercury News, 10/17).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.