Local health care providers plan Ebola drill

Airport has plan to handle Ebola situation if it presents itself in Madison
Local health care providers plan Ebola drill

Dean Clinic and St. Mary’s Hospital will hold a drill Thursday for health care workers to practice what to do if Ebola ever arrives in Madison.

The drill will take place in the emergency room for the emergency staff. The drill will include how to put on and take off all protective gear. It will also help with any anxieties among staff who may be concerned about dealing with Ebola.

The hope is that it doesn’t show up anywhere else, but seeing what is happening elsewhere is giving local providers like St. Mary’s a chance to learn.

“We’re trying to learn from best practices that they’ve had, as well as some of the practices that haven’t gone so well,” St. Mary’s nurse epidemiologist Ellen Smith said. “Unfortunately in Dallas they didn’t have as much time and warning, and didn’t have an opportunity to practice probably as much as some of the other hospitals have had. And we’re learning from their experience as well, and that just makes us all better prepared.”

Health care providers said they are taking their cues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State health officials are tweaking their Ebola response plans all the time.

Dane County Regional Airport officials said they are partnering closely with the local public health department and area hospitals.

The airport EMS provider and fire department are also involved in their plan to handle an Ebola situation if it presents itself in Madison.

“One thing that our operations department always does is stay in close contact with the airlines, so there’s daily communications with airline partners and if things do come up we would be notified. But at this time we have not been notified of any concerns,” Director of Communications for the Dane County Regional Airport Brent McHenry said.

McHenry said the airlines are responsible for keeping jetliners or other planes free of sickness, and they’re supposed to alert the CDC and any airport where they land of any possible concerns.

Frontier Airlines said the plane that the nurse had flown on was decontaminated before another flight.