The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health officials today identified 35 hospitals designated as Ebola treatment centers — including eight members of America’s Essential Hospitals.
The CDC noted that the 35 treatment centers together have 53 beds suitable for Ebola care and the nation has expanded its Ebola testing capacity from 13 labs in 13 states as of August to 42 labs in 36 states.
The geographic distribution of the treatment centers takes advantage of requirements that travelers from Ebola-affected countries arrive at one of five U.S. airports outfitted with enhanced Ebola screening systems. As a result, more than 80 percent of returning travelers live within 200 miles of an Ebola treatment center, the CDC said. The agency said federal and state health officials will designate more hospitals as treatment centers in coming weeks.
The CDC also announced a tiered system for hospital designations. Just below treatment centers are state-identified assessment hospitals, which will serve as points of referral for individuals who are actively monitored and who develop symptoms consistent with Ebola. Assessment hospitals will have the capability to provide evaluation and care for up to 96 hours for someone who exhibits the initial Ebola symptoms. These hospitals also will initiate and coordinate testing for Ebola and alternative diagnoses.
A third tier of acute-care hospitals — frontline health care facilities — captures most hospitals not designated as treatment or assessment centers. At these hospitals, health care workers should be trained and able to recognize symptoms, safely isolate a potential Ebola patient, and contact public health authorities for notification and guidance, the CDC said.