Tifton hospital is ready for Ebola threat

Tifton hospital is ready for Ebola threat

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Like all hospitals, Tift Regional Health System is monitoring the Ebola virus. Tift Regional is the latest South Georgia hospital to form a Ebola team to handle a potential case.

Tift Regional had to use their Ebola protocol Friday night when a patient from a neighboring county jail was brought to their hospital. Fortunately, the patient did not have Ebola.

"Because we knew their could be some concerns in our local community about possible suspected ebola patients being brought to the hospital," Chris Efaw of Tift Regional.

Shortly after the first diagnosed Ebola case in Dallas, the hospital formed a special Ebola committee for all Tift Regional Medical campuses, including Cook Medical in Adel.

"We do think the chances of an Ebola patient in south Georgia is remote but we are taking every precaution and every step just to be sure," Efaw said.

This is the infection control gear healthcare workers would use in a suspected Ebola case.

And it was put to use Friday night when a inmate from Irwin County Jail was brought to the hospital ER with fever-like symptoms.

"There was concern cause they did visit a west African country even though Nigeria was recently taken off the list by the CDC. We did appropriate steps to isolate and evaluate and consult with the patient," said Efaw.

The hospital was not put on lockdown and the patient did not have the Ebola virus.

The hospital made sure that patient did not come in contact with anyone at the hospital.

"In preparation for receiving the patient we had to move other patients and visitors in the ER to other areas of the ER,"

All Tift Regional campuses are aware of the proper steps to handle the Ebola virus.

"We do isolate the patient to keep the away from the other population and healthcare workers. We consult with the state public health agency epidemiologist for any suspected ebola cases."

Efaw says Tift Regional is pleased with the handling of this case and the hospital hopes they will not have to use their Ebola protocol again.

Irwin County EMS transported the patient and followed protocol as outlined by the CDC. The director says the process took about four hours including decontaminating the emergency vehicle before putting it back in service.

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