State Sen. Josh Green M.D., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, has scheduled an informational briefing at the State Capitol for Wednesday, October 22 at 9:00 AM on Hawaii’s preparedness for outbreaks of infectious disease, including the Ebola virus.
“Ebola kills more than half the people it infects,” Green said, “so this is a matter of life and death, not only for the person who is infected but for everyone who comes into close contact with them.”
Green announced he will convene representatives from the state Department of Health, the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, the Department of Transportation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to brief the Senate Committee on Health on current procedures, facilities, and plans to identify and control cases of Ebola infection should it reach Hawaii.
“We have to make sure that Hawaii is ready if someone infected with Ebola steps off a plane here,” Green said. “That means having effective screening measures in place at our airports, and being prepared with facilities and procedures that can safely transport, quarantine, and care for Ebola patients until they recover.”
Green stressed the need for special safety procedures: “It is essential that we have emergency protocols ready and in place that will protect the nurses, orderlies, and other health workers who would be in close contact with potential Ebola patients. This disease is spread by contact with body fluids from an infected individual, and it can only be effectively contained if the right equipment and procedures are used with extreme care.”
“State government, hospital administrators, and the entire health care system must communicate, work together, and be prepared so we are ready to safely handle patients infected with Ebola or other dangerous contagious diseases,” Green said. “It is extremely unlikely that someone infected with Ebola will reach Hawaii, given our distance from West Africa and our geographical isolation, but we must be prepared as if it is certain that we will have to screen, identify, quarantine, and care for Ebola patients who could arrive here. Ebola is too deadly and dangerous to ignore.”
Green (3rd District – Kona, Ka‘u) is an Emergency Room doctor with 15 years of hospital experience on Big Island.
For more information, please contact Green at (808) 937-0991 or email@example.com