Florida Governor Rick Scott had a briefing with state health officials Saturday on Florida’s efforts to prepare for a possible case of Ebola. Included in the briefing were State Surgeon General John Armstrong, Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon, and Agency for Healthcare Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek.
Governor Rick Scott said, “While we have no confirmed cases of Ebola in Florida, and we hope we never do, we are continuing to prepare by working with healthcare providers across the state and the CDC to ensure every precaution is taken to protect our citizens and our visitors. Our Department of Health continues to be in constant communication with every county health office, our hospitals and the federal CDC. We know there is currently a patient being treated for symptoms in Sarasota at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. This patient is being monitored and treated in isolation as a precaution because he had recently traveled to West Africa.
“It is important to stress that our state health officials and those at the county and local levels are incredibly prepared to rapidly respond to even the possibility of this disease. Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of every Floridian and all those who visit the Sunshine State. We will remain vigilant in our readiness to combat this disease and we will regularly share any important updates with Floridians.”
Florida Department of Health Preparedness Efforts
· The Department is working in consultation with the CDC to determine on a case-by-case basis whether testing for Ebola is necessary. The Department’s Bureau of Public Health Laboratories has the capacity to conduct preliminary Ebola testing. One test has been conducted to date and the results were negative, as the CDC announced on September 8, 2014.
· The Department is disseminating detailed recommendations to every hospital in Florida for detecting suspected Ebola virus among persons returning from affected countries and preventing transmission within medical facilities.
· Health Officers in each of the Department’s 67 county health offices have been meeting with hospital staff on an ongoing basis to review protocols and guidelines for responding to a possible Ebola diagnosis.
· The Department is providing training to county public health officials on investigating and responding to persons with the suspected Ebola virus disease.
· The Department is working to disseminate information and guidance to law enforcement, the Florida Fire Chiefs Association, EMS staff and 911 operators. Every EMS unit in Florida is trained and equipped to transport patients with infectious diseases.