Today, the Department of Health (DOH) announced that eight Washington hospitals have agreed to receive and provide ongoing care for Ebola patients. Swedish Issaquah is one of the eight hospitals.
Although all Swedish hospitals and clinics are preparing to identify and triage a patient presenting with symptoms of Ebola, Swedish Issaquah was selected for the dedicated inpatient unit because the hospital has the best combination of needed isolation space and technology, and because it serves a geographic population the DOH needed to have served.
It is important to remember that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Washington state, and that an outbreak is very unlikely to occur here.
At Swedish Issaquah, we are preparing to care for an Ebola patient and to bring him or her to good health. Doing this means we have the proper facilities, personal protective equipment, safety protocols and professional staff to receive and provide the medical support that is necessary.
We are committed to protect our caregivers and the public. We have and will continue to provide additional training to appropriate staff on how to put on and take off equipment safely. We are also conducting drills, including isolation procedures and testing protocols, to ensure our preparedness.
Our ongoing work will align with and be supported by both the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the state DOH. The CDC has established guidelines for managing suspected Ebola cases and over the coming weeks will help evaluate and support preparedness efforts at Swedish Issaquah and other Washington hospitals that will provide ongoing care to Ebola patients.
I want to thank all of our caregivers, especially those at Swedish Issaquah, who are supporting our work to ensure that Swedish and Washington state are prepared for Ebola and all forms of infectious disease.