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Morgantown hospital opens $500,000 Ebola unit

Daily Athenaeum photo by Doyle Maurer Emergency protective equipment is kept in the donning room of the IPCU.
Daily Athenaeum photo by Doyle Maurer
Emergency protective equipment is kept in the donning room of the IPCU.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University Healthcare continues to prepare for a possible Ebola outbreak as the threat of the disease still looms around the nation.

In a matter of three weeks time, a construction team renovated a section of the Emergency Department at Ruby Memorial Hospital and turned it into a self-contained Infection Prevention and Containment Unit that houses five isolation rooms. The renovations cost $500,000.

WVU Healthcare has closely followed the Center for Disease Control and Prevention protocols regarding Ebola prevention and testing, prepared the IPCU in accordance with these guidelines, and is now in the process of training staff to handle a potential patient.

Owen Lander, medical director for the WVU Healthcare Emergency Department, said he is confident about the unit’s ability to handle potential Ebola patients.

“All of what we are trying to do here, with the structure of this unit and the plan for the care team, is essentially following the CDC guidelines and (it) is closely modeled with public institutions that have successfully treated patients,” Lander said. “We basically said: who’s gotten it right, how did they do it? That’s what we’ve tried to do.”

The unit is self-contained, meaning every lab service that needs completed can be done within the unit…

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