Florida residents recently encountered their first Ebola scare when the media announced that a man in Sarasota had walked into the hospital with Ebola-like-symptoms and confirmed he had recently been in the area of West Africa. Fortunately, the doctors determined that it was unlikely the man was carrying the deadly virus and was removed from isolation once he began to feel better. As of now, there are no confirmed or registered cases of Ebola in the Florida. However, this does not mean that the Florida Health Department and local hospitals are not on alert and making sure they are prepared for the worst.
The Florida Department of Health issued a statement after their Tampa meeting, detailing the strategies it’s taking to prepare for the possibility of a confirmed case of Ebola in Florida. Some of the measures include: coordinating with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to determine when patients need to be tested for Ebola; educating Florida hospitals on how to effectively detect and treat the deadly virus, and prevent it from spreading throughout medical facilities; and instructing emergency responders on how to safely treat and transport a patient who might have the virus.
Tampa General is just one of the many hospitals in the Tampa Bay area that has been preparing now for months. They have taken extra precautions by designing special isolation rooms for Ebola patients where the air inside the room is never exhausted out into the common areas (even though experts say that the virus is not airborne), and purchasing disposable, protective full body suits; thick, high-filtration tight-fitting masks; two pairs of heavy-duty chemotherapy-rated gloves; and a face shield to protect from any splashing.
In any case, the Hillsborough County Health Department has advised everyone in the area to stay calm considering there is a low chance that an Ebola patient will be from the Bay area.