Health

University of California Medical Centers prepared to treat Ebola

UCLA health workers attend to a mock patient during an Ebola response exercise on Friday, Oct. 17, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
UCLA health workers attend to a mock patient during an Ebola response exercise on Friday, Oct. 17, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Reed Hutchinson
UCLA health workers attend to a mock patient during an Ebola response exercise on Friday, Oct. 17, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
UCLA health workers attend to a mock patient during an Ebola response exercise on Friday, Oct. 17, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Reed Hutchinson


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All five University of California Medical Center locations are prepared to treat Ebola patients in California if necessary, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The UC Medical Centers in Los Angeles, Irvine, San Diego, San Francisco and Davis are all prepared to handle Ebola cases, said the Department. All specialize in complex care, and operate or staff Level One trauma centers. UCLA has the capacity to treat two patients with Ebola, while medical centers in Irvine, Davis and San Diego can each treat one patient, KPCC has confirmed.

"The administration will support these hospitals in meeting this public health need in California," said Department director Dr. Ron Chapman. "At the same time all hospitals and medical providers need to redouble preparedness efforts to ensure that they can effectively assess Ebola risk in their patients, while ensuring workplace safety."

While it now has the five UC medical centers ready to handle Ebola, the Department said in a statement that it expects to identify "additional priority hospitals for Ebola treatment."

There are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in California.

Watch video from an Ebola response training drill at the University of California, Los Angeles:

UCLA Ebola drill video

"It is our intent that only health care workers who are members of a core designated group or who volunteer to do so will provide care to confirmed Ebola patients," said UC senior vice president for health sciences and services Dr. John Stobo.

At UC Irvine Medical Center, a core team of health care workers - including staff from the emergency department, intensive care unit, and lab - are being trained to treat Ebola, according to Karen Grimley, chief nursing officer at UC Irvine Health. An estimated 125 health care workers will be trained by next week, she added.

She said a person with Ebola would be treated in a specially designated intensive care unit with negative pressure. "This patient is not going to need a room for themselves, they're going to need a room for all sorts of support people, and equipment, and dirty things," said Grimley.

The Department said it will help hospitals find the necessary protective equipment. That's good news to Grimley, who said that UC Irvine, like other facilities, has enough protective gear for several days, "but to go on for 10, 12, 15 days, we're going to have to have a way to replenish what we use on a regular basis, to maintain the safety of our staff while they provide optimal care to the patient."

The UC medical centers are prepared to treat patients diagnosed in California, not those who are diagnosed overseas and returned to the U.S.