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Specialised ward to deal with Ebola at CRH nears completion

Published:Saturday | November 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:The isolation complex, which will put Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in a state of readiness to deal with the Ebola virus and other illnesses that require isolation, is likely to be ready in less than two weeks.

"The new renal unit, which is now being used as a temporary holding area, will make way for the new isolation complex when it becomes ready," said Calvin G. Brown, the chairman of the Cornwall Regional Hospital management committee, in a recent interview with Western Focus. "We have been pro-active, so we have decided to use the renal unit as a temporary isolation facility."

The permanent isolation complex, which will be a sterile and infection-free area guided by international standards, is one of the new facilities being created at CRH at a cost of J$30 million.

In terms of the training of staff and the acquisition of the appropriate uniforms to handle Ebola-afflicted patients, Brown said an infection control team has been created, and a supply of hazmat suits, which is widely used in Ebola cases, has been acquired.

infection control team

"The infection control team is headed by the vastly experienced Dr Barbara Grandison (an ear, nose and throat surgeon at the hospital)," said Brown. "We have acquired hazmat suits (protective suits for Ebola) and other gears for health-care workers who would be required to wear them if it becomes necessary."

Following a recent tour of the CRH facilities, health minister, Dr Fenton Ferguson, said he was satisfied with the level of preparation he saw with regards to the institution's state of readiness for Ebola cases.

While other health facilities in the west, to include the Savanna-la-Mar, Noel Holmes and Falmouth hospitals, are all required to have holding areas for any suspected case of Ebola, only CRH is authorised to handle isolation.

In addition to the isolation complex, which is now all but ready, the new facilities at the CRH will also include a triage area, which is specifically being created to bring greater order and control in the Accident and Emergency Department, which is oftentimes congested.

"We anticipate that the creation of the triage area will significantly improve the overall management and care of patients, based on their conditions when they arrive in the emergency room," said Brown. "Most times, it is very crowded, so we are striving to reduce the number of persons who are waiting for care."