Sentara Princess Anne Hospital and Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center have been chosen by the Sentara Ebola Task Force to establish isolation units for any potential Sentara patients with Ebola.
The hospitals will accept patients with Ebola from all Sentara locations in Virginia and North Carolina. Medical Transport, a Sentara ambulance service, will provide ground transport for any patient with Ebola from all Sentara facilities. One ambulance is being equipped exclusively and up to 20 crew members will receive additional training and equipment.
“Recent experience around the country points to concentration of resources and expertise as an emerging best practice,” said Scott Miller, M.D., an infectious disease physician and chair of the Sentara Ebola Task Force. “These two hospitals have the right kind of facilities that we can readily adapt for this purpose.”
Both hospitals have ground-level observation rooms adjacent to their emergency departments with direct access from the outside. Patients with Ebola will not have to pass through any other part of the hospitals. Negative pressure units are being installed out of an abundance of caution. Adjacent rooms offer space for clinical teams to put on and take off personal protective equipment and shower. Licensed contractors are engaged to safely dispose of any wastes generated.
Sentara has a goal of zero exposures for employees, physicians or any other person while we are treating Ebola patients, Dr. Miller said. “We are adopting the very latest protocols for personal protective equipment and personnel working in these isolation units will receive additional education and training in best practices.”
But this is just for precaution. Sentara Princess Anne President Dr. Thomas Thames says the chances of getting a patient are slim.
"It's still extremely unlikely that we would truly see any patients at this point, looking at the experience in the United States," he says.
Dr. Thames says the units should be done prepping by the end of the week.