The City of Texarkana, Texas stated there are zero confirmed cases of the disease in Texarkana. St. Michaels confirmed that it has zero patients with ebola.
TXKtoday.com staff has received messages and noticed an influx of mentions of Texarkana on Twitter stating that there was a patient in Texarkana with ebola so we felt obligated to post this story.
“[T]here have been no confirmed cases of this disease in Texarkana,” stated Lisa Thompson, the Public Information Officer for the City of Texarkana, Texas.
“We do not have an ebola patient,” stated Francine Francis, the communications director for CHRISTUS St. Michael.
Wadley Regional Medical Center did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to a press release issued by the City of Texarkana, Texas, “emergency Management personnel are on alert in regards to confirmed cases of the Ebola virus disease in Texas. City personnel will continue to monitor updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and make certain first responders have adequate supplies and an emergency plan in place in the event of a case in the Texarkana community. These precautions are being taken as a result of an elevated risk in the state of Texas and the United States.”
Texarkana Texas Fire Chief, Eric Schlotter, is working hard to be prepared for any incident that could occur in Texarkana, stated the press release.
“We always maintain a certain level of readiness for anything to happen,” Schlotter said. “In this case, we are acquiring supplies and producing and reviewing procedures as necessary,” stated the press release.
The CDC has offered interim guidance for first responders and dispatchers to follow in the event of a case in Texarkana. Dispatchers, or Public Safety Answering Points as the CDC refers to them, are instructed to use a modified caller query if the risk is elevated, stated the press release. The script provided by the CDC asks questions of 9-1-1 callers to determine if a risk for the Ebola virus disease is a possibility. If so, dispatchers alert first responders of the risk. Firefighters and law enforcement personnel are instructed to wear personal protective equipment if contact with a confirmed case is suspected, including gloves, a fluid resistant gown, eye protection, a facemask, and shoe covers, stated the press release.
Symptoms for the disease include a fever greater than 101. 5 degrees Ferenheit, a severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or unexplained bleeding. According to the CDC, Ebola is only contracted through direct, unprotected contact with blood or bodily fluids (urine, saliva, feces, vomit, sweat and semen) or a person who is sick with Ebola or direct handling of bats or nonhuman primates from areas with Ebola outbreaks.
CHRISTUS St. Michaels has been taking measures as well even though the hospital does not have any ebola patients. “We have been communicating with our associates with information and providing them with information,” stated Francis.
TXKtoday.com obtained a copy of the information that was sent to its employees of St. Michaels. This document, dated Oct. 14, 2014, states the following:
Many of you have heard that three patients in Dallas, including two health care workers, have confirmed cases of Ebola. We want you to know that we have been preparing to manage a potential Ebola case for weeks—as a hospital, as a region and as a system.
In these situations, our top priorities are keeping our patients, Associates, physicians, visitors and community members safe as we provide expert and compassionate care to a patient with this diagnosis.
Do We Have Guidelines for the Care of Ebola Patients?
The CHRISTUS Health system plan follows CDC guidelines. We have developed additional measures based on the experiences of Emory University and THR Presbyterian Hospitals who have cared for Ebola patients. We are meeting daily to monitor best practices, discuss plans and keep up with the latest clinical guidance.
How We Identify Patients?
The screening process in our Emergency Departments includes questions about a patient’s recent travel history and symptoms to expedite early identification of patients requiring special infection precautions. If a patient is identified as being at risk, we immediately implement our infection control protocols, and proceed with providing appropriate care and treatment.
What Happens If We Identify a Potential Ebola Patient?
If we receive a patient who exhibits potential symptoms of Ebola (fever, severe headache,
muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or unexplained hemorrhage) AND has been in West Africa or has been in contact with someone who might have Ebola in the last three weeks, we will initiate specific isolation precautions while we contact our local health department. We will also work with our local city and county offices of emergency
management or public health on a regional response.
We will place the patient in isolation in a designated area. Then, a system-provided checklist will be followed.
The checklist outlines what protective gear should be worn and how materials should be
disposed of safely, and what procedures should be followed to limit access to areas where the patient is treated.
The health department makes the final decision about whether or not a patient’s blood will be tested for the Ebola virus, so their direction and determinations will help guide us from that point forward.
What We’re Doing Now
Frequent communication and coordinated planning is occurring across hospitals, regions and at the system level through a daily briefing. We are planning appropriate staffing and the development of “go teams” per our existing Pandemic plan, as well as additional training and education plans.
Our Materials Management/Supply Chain management staff are working with the regions, taking inventory of supplies now. The CHRISTUS Health system is going to order any additional supplies that may be necessary to treat a case for an extended period, and will store them in a central location. If a CHRISTUS facility receives an Ebola patient, these supplies will be moved to the affected hospital.
More Information Available
We’ve posted online an FAQ meant to provide you with information about Ebola, explain
what precautions are being implemented, and point you to further reading about Ebola. You can access it here: http://www.christushealth.org/factsaboutebola