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04 Oct 2014

The Fridley hospital immediately enacted a public health protocol isolating the patient, restricting access to caregivers wearing protective garb, and notifying specialists at its parent organization, Allina Health, and the Minnesota Department of Health. A doctor soon discovered the patient had malaria, not Ebola, but the incident signaled the heightened state of readiness at Minnesota hospitals as they prepare for the deadly virus that has devastated parts of West Africa. Everybody is on the watch, said Dr. Wendy Slattery, medical director of infection control for Allina Health, who said the episode gave her confidence that her hospitals are prepared for a real Ebola case. Long before the first U.S. Ebola case was confirmed in Dallas on Tuesday, Minnesota hospitals were preparing rooms and equipment. Given that more than 30,000 people of Liberian descent live in the north suburbs, the local risk cant be measured by one case in Texas, said Patsy Stinchfield, director of infection prevention and control at Childrens Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. The potential of it being a plane ride away is very real, she said.
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