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Copley Hospital Prepares for Ebola Risk is Low; Preparation a Precaution

October 31, 2014

Morrisville – Copley Hospital is working in conjunction with the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prepare in the event of an Ebola case in Vermont.

“There is low risk of an Ebola case in our community,” said Copley Hospital President Mel Patashnick. “But until the disease stops spreading in West Africa, that low risk remains. The safety of our patients and the safety of our staff is our highest priority. To maintain that safety, we have established infection control protocols specific to Ebola and continue to update these protocols as we receive new information from the VDH and CDC.”

Information from the VDH and CDC is evolving. According to Emergency Services Nurse Director Joanne Rheaume, “We are prepared to transfer a patient suspected with Ebola to UVMC; we are also prepared to care for them, with strict infection control protocols, here at Copley – it will depend on what the VDH recommends at the time.”

A number of Copley staff are contributing to this effort, including the Emergency Preparedness Committee; Emergency Services staff; the hospital’s multi-disciplinary infection control committee including John Mech, MD, Liam Gannon, MD and Patrick Keith, MD; Quality Director Celeste Kane-Stebbins; and Infection Control Nurse Karen Rhodes. Related staff training has started and will continue. Copley has at this time elected to take a higher level precaution than recommended by the CDC.

Those at the highest risk of contracting Ebola are healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with a person who is sick with Ebola. They are at risk because they may come in direct contact with the blood or body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of the sickened person. Ebola is not spread through the air, water, or food. A person infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until symptoms appear.

If you have a fever and have travelled to West Africa in the past month or have been exposed to someone diagnosed with Ebola in the past month, get medical care right away. Call your doctor’s office or the emergency room BEFORE you go and tell them about your recent travel to West Africa or contact with a person who was sick with Ebola and your symptoms. Calling before you go to the doctor’s office or emergency room will help the staff care for you and protect other people.

More information about Ebola is available at