Greeley County Health Services Is Preparing to Respond in the Event of Ebola

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Greeley County Health Services has been working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the public health system in Greeley and Wallace Counties to quickly and effectively respond in the event of a case of Ebola in Tribune or Sharon Springs.  Kansas has not had any confirmed cases of Ebola at this time.

“GCHS has worked to be informed and stay up-to-date on all news and information regarding the Ebola condition. We have in-house employees devoted to becoming the Ebola ‘experts’ for our organization. We are taking the necessary steps to be prepared and help our employees and community understand and be prepared should anything ever happen,” Lee Rhodes, CEO, said.

GCHS has set up an employee training for Ebola on Wednesday, October 22nd to better educate and prepare staff on the condition.

Ebola virus disease is spread only through direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick and showing symptoms. Symptoms of Ebola include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite. Symptoms usually appear 8-10 days, but may appear up to 21 days after exposure to bodily fluids of a person showing symptoms of Ebola. Most cases related to this Ebola outbreak have been contracted in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Greeley County Health Services is working with health care industry partners regarding the need for standardized and effective infection control measures required to control and contain Ebola virus disease. If a patient had a suspected or confirmed case of Ebola, hospitals would be required to isolate the patient in a private room with a bathroom. The door to the room would need to be closed at all times and all visitors would need to be restricted and would need to follow infection control measures per hospital protocols. Healthcare workers would be required to protect themselves from Ebola by wearing protective clothing and equipment to prevent contact with bodily fluids.

Kansas has recommended additional guidance for healthcare workers who have been exposed to Ebola above and beyond the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines. Kansas requires any healthcare worker who has been exposed to Ebola to be excluded from providing direct patient care for a 21 day period following the last exposure. KDHE has also recommended and provided resources for hospitals and healthcare workers, including EMS, to re-train on how to properly put on and take off protective equipment.

If someone is diagnosed with Ebola, an investigation would immediately occur to identify people who may have come in contact with the Ebola patient while they were showing symptoms. Those people identified would be monitored for signs of Ebola, including fever.

If you have traveled in and out of the United States in the last three week or if you have been exposed to someone who has traveled internationally in the last 21 days, and you are showing symptoms of fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite, please report directly the Emergency Room for treatment.

If you are unsure of symptoms or need assistance in any way, please contact Janie Schmidt, GCHS Assistant Director of Nursing, at 620-376-4221 for more information related to care and symptoms.

UPDATE: Greeley County Health Services is proactively working under the direction of KDHE and the CDC to ensure that we are prepared for any risk posed by the recent Ebola outbreak. We have formed a task force to review information coming out of these public agencies. You can find more information at KDHE and CDC.  If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us.

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