Harborview Medical Center is one of five hospitals across the country that have agreed, if needed, to accept American Ebola patients airlifted from West Africa.
At a news conference Monday, Dr. Timothy Dellit, Harborview’s associate medical director, said patients accepted for treatment at the hospital likely would be residents of the Northwest or have other strong ties to the region.
No such evacuations are expected in the immediate future.
Harborview’s agreement to be ready to take airlifted Ebola patients came through local and state health officials at the request of the U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control.
The number of hospitals in other parts of the country willing to accept airlifted Ebola patients is expected to grow, a CDC official said.
Dr. Jeff Duchin, chief epidemiologist for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said the agreement does not mean Harborview will be the designated local treatment location for all Ebola patients, and that he doesn’t envision Ebola patients being transferred to Harborview from other area hospitals.
All hospitals, he said, should be prepared “to evaluate and manage Ebola cases.”
Duchin said the disease, though deadly, is not highly contagious. It is spread by contact with the blood or bodily fluids of someone who has the disease.
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