October 27, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Infectious Diseases Public Health
Last week, the University of California (UC) Office of the President informed the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that all five UC medical centers were ready to provide in-patient care for Californians who have confirmed cases of Ebola.
According to the UC Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and Service John Stobo, M.D., the UC medical centers—which include Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco facilities—are “committed to addressing the health needs of this population and the public at large, as well as ensuring the safety of our health care workers.” These UC hospitals will closely coordinate with CDPH and local health officers in the event that Ebola infections occur in California.
“All of the UC medical centers specialize in complex care and operate as or staff level one trauma centers,” said Ron Chapman, M.D., director of CDPH and state health officer. “We appreciate their leadership role in willingness to treat Ebola patients.” However, Dr. Chapman said that all California hospitals are expected to screen, identify and isolate any patients with Ebola virus risk.
CDPH is reviewing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Services (CDC) for Ebola preparedness, screening and treatment guidance to ensure that the UC medical centers have the most up-to-date information on how to treat and care for Ebola patients, should confirmed Ebola cases appear in California.
CDPH has also committed to helping UC obtain the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), should the hospitals have sourcing challenges. The CDC recently updated its PPE guidance, aligning them with California’s already stronger infection control standards. State officials will also work with these medical centers to ensure that medical waste generated from the treatment of an Ebola patient will be properly handled and disposed.
The CDPH published information for all sectors of California health care providers and consumers on its website. It has also developed an interim case report form for reporting suspected cases of Ebola to CDPH and has distributed CDC guidance on specimen collection, transport, testing and submission for patients suspected of having Ebola.
CDPH has also posted interim guidelines for Ebola medical waste management and recommended that all health care facility environmental services personnel and infection control staff work together to develop facility-specific protocols for safe handling of Ebola related medical waste.