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Greenwich Health Care Providers Face Threat Of Ebola

Connecticut hospitals, including Greenwich Hospital, have been told by the state to hold a drill within a week check preparations for treating a patient with the deadly Ebola virus.
Connecticut hospitals, including Greenwich Hospital, have been told by the state to hold a drill within a week check preparations for treating a patient with the deadly Ebola virus. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

GREENWICH, Conn. -- As the staff at Greenwich Emergency Medical Service gathered Thursday night for their regular monthly medical training session, there was an extra sense urgency due to the threat of the deadly Ebola virus.

"We will be donning and doffing personal protective gear," said Charlee Tufts, executive director at GEMS. "We always have taken precautions, but with Ebola there is an added emphasis."

The added training came as the Ebola threat moved much closer to home. Late Wednesday, a student was admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital with Ebola-like symptoms. Tests came back negative for Ebola late Thursday.

But the case prompted Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the state to take additional steps to strengthen the level of preparedness for the Ebola virus. He called for the hospital to enact the quarantine and isolation protocols for that patient that were authorized under an order he signed last week.

He also directed every hospital in the state to perform a drill within the next week to assure that its procedures and protocols are up to the proper standards.

Tufts said that GEMS, the town of Greenwich's ambulance service, along with its partners, the Town of Greenwich, the Police Department, the Fire Department and Greenwich Hospital are working together to ensure all measures are taken to deal with a potential case of the Ebola virus.

Also, Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei has asked the town's director of health to convene a meeting of the town's first responders, hospital representatives and other public health officials. Attendees will review the most up-to-date protocols and learn what local measures can be taken to strengthen preparedness for the Ebola virus.

Stamford Hospital has also been working for several weeks to ensure its procedures in dealing with any Ebola cases are updated, hospital spokesman Craig Andrews said.

"We have plans in place for any infectious diseases, and it was reinforced" for the Ebola virus with the recent outbreak, he said.

Andrews said Stamford Hospital is collaborating with its partners, including the City of Stamford, in ensuring that the response to any potential cases is coordinated and handled properly.

Wilton's Director of Health Barrington Bogle, said the town is taking a similar stance as its fellow Fairfield County municipalities.

"We are preparing our first responders to be ready for such an event if it happens," he said.

State Public Health Commissioner Jewel Mullen said her department has sent checklists to all hospitals to measure their preparedness.

“Based on responses we have received from all hospitals, we know the degree to which all are taking steps needed to receive a patient and implement the appropriate evaluations in a way that upholds the well being of patients and the safety of healthcare personnel,” Mullen said.

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