UCSF adding isolation room, staff for possible Ebola cases 

click to enlarge Hospitals across the country are getting prepared to handle possible cases of Ebola. - RICHARD DREW/AP FILE PHOTO
  • Richard Drew/AP file photo
  • Hospitals across the country are getting prepared to handle possible cases of Ebola.

UC San Francisco is preparing a second Ebola-specific isolation room and seeking additional volunteers to treat potential patients following the designation Friday of UC medical centers as the state's priority hospitals to treat Ebola cases.

The second isolation room designed for a patient with the deadly disease is being constructed at UCSF's Mount Zion facility, where one isolation room was already set up that can handle the extra precautions needed with an Ebola patient, said Dr. Josh Adler, chief medical officer at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

There have been no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in San Francisco, but hospitals in The City and throughout the U.S. have been preparing for that scenario.

In addition to San Francisco, the California Department of Public Health on Friday identified UC medical centers in Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles and San Diego as those positioned to accept patients with Ebola.

"Hospitals in California are much better prepared now than several weeks ago to provide the necessary screening and care for Ebola patients," Adler said. "That doesn't mean we're ultimately where we need to get to, but we're in a much better place than several weeks back."

The Mount Zion hospital has seven isolation rooms, but two will ultimately be designated and equipped to handle a patient with Ebola. They will also be attached to anterooms, where health care workers can put on and remove personal protective equipment.

More than 70 doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and laboratory scientists at UCSF have volunteered to care for a confirmed or suspected Ebola patient, though the hospital is seeking at least an additional 30 volunteers.

UCSF's entire Ebola preparation effort is expected to cost several hundred thousand dollars, though an exact figure has not been determined, said Adler.

As of Saturday, there have been more than 10,000 Ebola cases and nearly 5,000 deaths in West Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Laura Dudnick

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Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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