City, county leaders roll out Ebola preparedness plan

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By Tanae Howard

Mayor Greg Ballard along with public safety and public health officials announced a preparedness plan should Ebola make its way to Indianapolis.

The team has been going over protocols and procedures since the disease made it to the United States.

"Now is the time for us to prepare should that unlikely circumstance occur," said Ballard.

Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department, says a secure plan is in place, especially as it relates to keeping healthcare workers safe if they were to encounter an Ebola patient.

"We are also in the process of evaluating every hospital's infection control procedures that they have in place in terms of how they would handle an Ebola patient," said Caine.

Letters have been sent to all healthcare professionals in Marion County outlining proper procedures of handling the disease.

Personal protection equipment is also readily available at local hospitals. Health officials have outlined the way the equipment should be removed in order to keep bodily fluids from spreading, which was an issue in Dallas that led to two nurses contracting the disease after helping an Ebola patient who later died.

Public Safety Director Troy Riggs says his team is also on board to protect first responders.

"Our hospitals now have consistent screening, personal protection equipment and isolated measures in place. EMS has started doing the same thing screening
personal protection for our work force and also looking at transportation needs," said Riggs.

IEMS has dedicated an ambulance for transport of suspected patients in Indianapolis and surrounding areas.

City and county leaders say they wanted to roll out this plan to ease the public fear and show their proactive approach.

There are no cases of Ebola in central Indiana.

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