Ohio increases stockpile of protective gear for health officials

Ohio increases stockpile of protective gear for health officials

COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) - The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is adding to its stockpile of health care personal protective equipment in order to support any requests that may come from frontline health care providers  treating suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola virus infection.

Ohio has no cases of Ebola, but ODH will be ready to support local health care providers if a case is confirmed.

With a team of health care workers treating a single Ebola patient using as many as 240 sets of personal protective equipment per day, hospitals can quickly use up whatever stores they may have.  ODH is adding to its already large stockpile in order to support whatever requests for support may come from local hospitals. 

The Ohio Department of Health currently owns a stockpile of approximately 102,122 face masks, 2,592 goggles, 1,600 shoe covers, 576 coveralls, 1,350 hoods, 105,300 gloves, 29,220 respirators, and 7,026 gowns. These figures increase daily; however, as new shipments arrive. ODH is requesting approval to use $300,000 in existing funds to acquire additional personal protective equipment.

The request will be considered on Monday by the Controlling Board, a body comprised of bipartisan members of the General Assembly and an official from the Ohio Office of Budget and Management that meets every two weeks to help manage and approve the use of state funds. Hospitals also have their own stores and supply contracts to constantly replenish supplies while ODH has additional stores in regional warehouses.

"One of the state's key missions is supporting our local health partners in the event they need additional supplies, and by adding to our already large stockpile we'll be in as strong a position as possible to meet those needs," said Dr. Mary DiOrio, state epidemiologist and interim chief of the ODH Bureau of Prevention and Health Promotion.  "Governor Kasich has tasked Ohio's public health team with taking an aggressive approach to our Ebola response efforts, ensuring that the state has a strong stockpile of protective equipment is in line with that. Up to this point our efforts have focused on northeast Ohio, but we will be ready to help any community statewide if necessary."

ODH is also seeking authority to use up to $500,000 for cleanup and disposal of any contaminated linens and other items that may be generated by an Ebola patient, either at their home or a health care facility.

Safe disposal of such materials is essential to prevent additional exposure. ODH would support a local health department or health care facility in the event they requested additional support to safely dispose of contaminated material.

On Wednesday, Oct. 15 Ohio was notified by the CDC that a Dallas nurse who visited northeast Ohio Oct. 10-13 tested positive for Ebola on Oct. 14 after returning to Dallas.  Ohio immediately worked with local health officials to activate Ebola preparedness efforts that it began developing in mid-summer.

Additionally, Ohio:

•     Requested the CDC send a response team to support state and local efforts to identify anyone with home the nurse may have had contact while in Ohio.  The team arrived early Thursday morning;

•     Worked with Ohio infectious disease experts to develop recommended quarantine protocols that build on published CDC guidelines.

•     Recommended that all Ohio hospitals conduct repeated training drills with frontline health care staff on how to manage an Ebola patient and put on and remove personal protective equipment.  More information is available here;

•     Activated a 24-hour-a-day call center to answer questions about Ebola and Ohio's response. The telephone number is 1-866-800-1404. Information about Ebola is also available on the ODH website at www.odh.ohio.gov and the CDC website at www.cdc.gov

Copyright 2014 WOIO. All rights reserved.