xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Harford hospital officials say they are 'prepared' to handle Ebola

Officials with University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, above, and Harford Memorial Hospital say they are prepared if there is a possible Ebola case in Harford County. Meanwhile, Aberdeen's city manager says he is concerned about possible Ebola exposure to city employees.
Officials with University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, above, and Harford Memorial Hospital say they are prepared if there is a possible Ebola case in Harford County. Meanwhile, Aberdeen's city manager says he is concerned about possible Ebola exposure to city employees. (Lloyd Fox, The Baltimore Sun)

Doug Miller, Aberdeen's city manager, was among the first in Harford County to publicly raise concerns about the deadly Ebola virus.

Miller said at an Aberdeen City Council work session Monday he wants to look into how the Ebola virus outbreak could potentially affect the city.

Advertisement

"We are following this very real scare of the Ebola outbreak," Miller said.

A spokeswoman for Harford County's two hospitals, meanwhile, has said both are prepared to deal with any possibility of the deadly Ebola virus occurring in the county, while declining to give specifics about protocols.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the nation's health facilities may need to reconsider their methodology in dealing with Ebola after what the department's director called a "breach in protocol" led to a Dallas nurse becoming infected with the virus.

"We constantly monitor for a variety of public health threats in our patient population, and we are prepared should any suspected Ebola case present at either of our hospitals," Martha Mallonee, spokeswoman for University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, said in an email Tuesday.

The University of Maryland Medical System operates Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air and Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace.

"UM UCH is following the situation closely with public health authorities," Mallonee wrote; however, she declined to elaborate on what that means.

Advertisement

"I don't have anything further to add at this time but will certainly be in contact if I have something more I can share," she added.

Bill Wiseman, spokesman for the Harford County Health Department, noted in an email that "the risk to Americans of a possible Ebola outbreak currently is deemed very low by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Wiseman said the department has not received any calls from the public regarding the virus and explained Harford health officials are following the lead of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene "and, by association, the CDC."

"As is occurring throughout the state, [Harford County Health Department] is communicating with our community  partners to mutually share developments and new information as it is made available," he added.

Wiseman also mentioned that CDC has a website for up-to-date information on Ebola: www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/.

Aberdeen's Miller said there are no plans to change city services or operations, but the city's safety director is researching how Ebola may be transmitted.

He explained city leaders are trying to "brainstorm" how the virus might affect city employees.

"Right now we don't see anything, but we are watching it very closely," he said.

After the work session, Miller said some of his concern results from the cases of the Dallas nurse who contracted the virus after treating the first person to die from Ebola in the U.S., as well as a nurse in Spain who contracted it after also treating a patient.

Miller said the CDC's new response is also a concern and the city wants to do more research to see if, for example, employees could somehow be exposed to the virus through handling trash bags or dealing with sewage and wastewater.

"This is such a horrible disease," he added. "We just want to be certain we understand its impact to our workers."

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement