How we're preparing for Ebola
Ebola is still rare in the United
States. The key to preventing the spread of
the virus is to identify and isolate
potential cases as quickly as possible.
To help with this
effort, Southeastern Health (SeHealth) and
Southeastern Regional Medical Center (SRMC)
are following the Ebola screening guidelines
recommended by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services.
According to SeHealth
Infection Control Coordinator Sherry
Edwards, RN, SeHealth established an Ebola
Taskforce earlier this month which has
evolved into a steering committee which
The organization has
conducted four drills to date with more
planned which focus on processes to follow
if a patient presents to SRMC or an
affiliated clinic who meets both of the
criteria below, and who is immediately
placed in a private room for isolation and
1. Symptoms and signs of
Ebola. These include fever; headache; joint
and muscle aches; weakness; fatigue;
diarrhea; vomiting; stomach pain; lack of
appetite; and, in some cases, bleeding.
2. Travel to West Africa (Guinea, Liberia,
Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone or other
countries where the World Health
Organization has reported Ebola
transmission) in the 21 days (3 weeks)
before symptoms started.
If a patient
meets the above criteria, he or she will be
moved to a private room with a bathroom.
Standard, contact and droplet infection
precautions will be followed when assessing,
treating and transporting the patient.
In addition, the following persons or
organizations will be immediately notified:
• Hospital leadership.
• Local and
state public health authorities.
CDC's Emergency Operations Center.
Drills and training continue for SeHealth
staff, with reinforcement training planned
next week on donning and doffing, or putting
on and taking off, of protective gear.
“The protective gear used by our staff meets
current CDC standards,” said Edwards.
“Should those standards change, we will
obtain the recommended personal protective
equipment and ensure all staff are well
trained in proper usage.”
For the latest
information about Ebola, including how the
virus is transmitted, as well as signs and
symptoms of the disease, visit CDC's Ebola
or the North Carolina Department of Health
and Human Services’ website,
Information is also
available by calling a new Ebola public
information line established by the
Carolinas Poison Center. The number is
1-800-222-1222. Callers should press 6 for
questions about Ebola.
L. Crabtree, MPA-HA
Lumberton, NC 28359
“Like” us on Facebook at
YouTube Channel: SeHealthLumberton
us on Twitter: @se_health