Hospitals near Dulles prepared for Ebola

WASHINGTON — As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention enhances Ebola screenings at Dulles International Airport, nearby hospitals are preparing to receive patients who have Ebola-like symptoms.

Loring Flint, chief medical officer of Inova Health System, says he is “absolutely confident” that the facility is prepared to treat any patient who may have the Ebola virus. Inova Fairfax Hospital, about 20 miles from the airport, will open a separate Ebola unit next week with room to isolate eight to 12 people.

Reston Hospital Center, about 6 miles from the airport, is following CDC guidelines by providing protective gowns and goggles for health care workers. The hospital also is instructing staff to use respirator masks, the protocol suggested by the World Health Organization for airborne illnesses, such as tuberculosis.

Questions have been raised about which hospitals are best equipped to handle Ebola cases.

On Wednesday, the second Texas health care worker to test positive for Ebola was flown to Emory University Hospital, in Atlanta, for treatment. Emory and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, are two of only four hospital centers in the U.S. that have biocontainment units.

David Trump, chief deputy commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health, says he believes every hospital needs to be prepared to evaluate these patients, but there needs to be a statewide and region-wide discussion about which hospital centers have the expertise, staffing and capacity to provide the best care.

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