We have reported on three cases in Florida of people with “Ebola like symptoms.” The state of Florida is particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases due to its porous water borders, international air and sea ports. As the Ebola virus spreads, and American concerns heightened, Governor Scott has asked all precautions be taken to protect Florida’s citizens and healthcare professionals.
Last week, Governor Scott requested the CDC provide 100 units of protective gear to Florida, and to date, the CDC has not fulfilled the request. The Governor also requested 30 additional Ebola testing kits – of which only three have been provided by the CDC to date. The 30 testing kits would ensure each Florida public hospital has access to an Ebola testing kit, which are used to test for Ebola at the Department of Health’s lab in Miami.
Governor Rick Scott announced that he is asking every Florida hospital to mandate all healthcare professionals undergo Ebola protection training programs to ensure their safety.
Governor Scott said in a press release:
“In light of what happened in Dallas, we want to make sure those healthcare professionals on the frontlines have the training and equipment they need to protect their health and safety. We are asking every Florida hospital to mandate that all healthcare professionals undergo Ebola preparedness training to ensure knowledge of protocols and availability of necessary personal protective equipment. It is very important for Florida hospitals to have the protective gear recommended by the CDC to ensure our healthcare professionals are safe in the event we ever have a case of Ebola in Florida.
“We’re asking Florida hospitals to notify the Department of Health when their personnel have undergone the mandatory training programs. In Florida, we are continuing to hope for the best while we prepare for the worst and learn from the developments in Dallas to further improve our own preparedness efforts.”
To help ensure hospitals provide the training and education to all personnel, the Department of Health, in collaboration with the Agency for Health Care Administration, will provide a new reporting structure to all of Florida’s 210 acute care hospitals. This comprehensive outreach to Florida’s hospitals will document each facilities’ preparedness in terms of available protective equipment as well as the healthcare worker education and training that has taken place.
It is the expectation of Florida’s public health agencies that each acute care hospital be fully capable and prepared to identify a potential Ebola case, protect healthcare workers on the frontlines, isolate the individual for evaluation, and inform the Health Department immediately. The Department of Health is continuing to work with partners across every county in Florida, including the Florida Hospital Association and the CDC, to ensure Florida maintains a posture of readiness.