RI Hospital officials say they’re prepared to combat Ebola

By: Samantha Lavien
Slavien@abc6.com
Twitter: @samanthalavien

Health officials in Rhode Island say they’re ready to combat the deadly Ebola virus if it comes here.

Doctors at Rhode Island Hospital say they’ve spent hundreds of hours preparing, just in case.

“We’ve done a tremendous amount of preparation which started several weeks,” said Rhode Island Hospital infectious disease doctor Leonard Mermel.

The hospital has put together five Ebola carts which include an algorithm to handle potential patients as well as protective gear like gloves and face-masks.

Dr. Mermel says Rhode Island Hospital has already had a couple of Ebola scares.

“We’ve had individuals come into our emergency department, both adult and pediatric, from an endemic area and found out that they’ve had other infections, thank goodness. I think we’ve learned a tremendous amount from that experience,” said Dr. Mermel.

Thousands of Liberians live in Rhode Island, many of whom do travel to and from Africa. The President of the Liberian Community Association of Rhode Island, Nellie Francis Sirleaf-Savice, says she wants to take steps to stop the virus from spreading.

“If anyone comes from Liberia they should be quarantined and they should be in isolation for 21 days whether they are positive or negative. It has to be like that to contain the virus,” said Sirleaf-Savice.

A huge concern for most of us: is how exactly do you contract Ebola. Doctors say Ebola is only spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, it is not an airborne disease.

C) WLNE-TV 2014