Minister Outlines Ebola Preparation Activities

Written by on October 21, 2014

assemblyProtecting Public Health for Families and Communities

 

Minister Outlines Ebola Preparation Activities

 

The Honourable Steve Kent, Minister of Health and Community Services, today provided information on preparations being undertaken to enhance readiness in the event of a suspected case of Ebola in Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

“Our province has undertaken a number of actions to enhance preparedness should a potential case of Ebola present itself. Work is ongoing between the Department of Health and Community Services and regional health authorities to strengthen readiness, and ensure strong infection control systems and procedures are in place. Our health care workers on the front lines will be essential to containing this disease if it does reach our province, and I want to assure them that training and equipment is a top priority. Their protection and the protection of the public is our number one focus.”

The Honourable Steve Kent, Minister of Health and Community Services

 

The Provincial Government has put a number of measures in place to prepare for an Ebola response including:

  • Implementation of a Provincial Government oversight committee to oversee provincial preparation, chaired by the Deputy Minister of Health and Community Services, with representation from the four regional health authorities and the Department of Health and Community Services.
  • Establishment of two expert teams to support the appropriate management of a suspected case from identification through treatment and discharge.
  • Designation of the Health Sciences Centre and Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St John’s as the provincial sites for adults and children with suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola.
  • Mandatory training for health care workers in the regional health authorities who would be on the front lines. This includes emergency department, ICU and environmental control staff, and first responders.
  • Use of enhanced ‎personal protective equipment, specifically, impervious gowns and leg wear, N95 masks, face visors, and double gloves and hoods.
  • Transportation protocols are under development to formalize both road and air transport of patients. This includes appropriate outfitting of ambulances and aircraft, providing training and ensuring personal protective equipment is in place for first responders.
  • Ongoing collaboration with other provincial jurisdictions and the Public Health Agency of Canada for up-to-date information on issues critical to a response.
  • Coordination of an Ebola response simulation exercise during the week of October 27.

 

“As the situation with Ebola evolves and as new information becomes available, we will continue to work with regional health authorities and providers to assess our state of readiness and will make adjustments to planning as necessary. I want to reassure the public that if a case does present here the risk of community infection is very low. We have infection control practices in place throughout our health care system and with additional monitoring, training and awareness, I am confident that we can respond and minimize public risk, and maximize protection of health care providers.”

– Dr. Faith Stratton, Chief Medical Officer of Health

 

Individuals who have recently visited the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, where there are Ebola outbreaks, and are feeling ill, are advised to call the Newfoundland and Labrador HealthLine at 1-888-709-2929 before presenting to a physician’s office or emergency department. The HealthLine is operational 24 hours a day.

 

QUICK FACTS

  • The Provincial Government continues to monitor the global Ebola situation and implement best practices and training for health care workers.
  • The Ebola virus itself does not spread easily from person to person; it is not like the flu. Ebola is spread by touching body fluids, for example blood, saliva, secretions, of a person sick with the disease or someone who has died from it.
  • Work is ongoing between the Department of Health and Community Services and regional health authorities to strengthen readiness, and ensure strong infection control systems and procedures are in place.
  • Measures that are in place to help prepare for a possible response include ongoing communication with federal and provincial counterparts; mandatory training for health care workers; designation of the Health Sciences Centre and Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre as the main referral sites for suspected cases of Ebola; and, procurement of additional personal protective equipment.
  • Individuals who have recently visited the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, where there are Ebola outbreaks, and are feeling ill, are advised to call the Newfoundland and Labrador HealthLine at 1-888-709-2929 before presenting to a physician’s office or emergency department.

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