Ebola in Ohio: State Earmarks $800,000 in Emergency Funds to Fight the Disease

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The state of Ohio has earmarked $800,000 in federal and state funds to fight a possible outbreak of Ebola in the state.

The Ohio Controlling Board allocated $300,000 to the Department of Health to stock up on protective equipment for hospitals, first-responders, and health-care workers, and another $300,000 to contract a Cincinnati, Ohio company to handle the cleanup of contaminated sites in the event a case of Ebola is confirmed.

There are currently no confirmed cases in Ohio.

According to officials, the state currently has enough protective gear for 16 “patient days,” which accounts for 240 suits. However, officials say health care workers would need to change their protective garments several times a day in caring for a single patient. The new purchase would bring the state up to 96 patient days.

“If a local hospital has difficulty receiving their supplies of (personal protective gear) in a timely fashion, we are able to come in and supply things until the supply chain opens back up,” Lynne Bratka, interim chief of the department’s Bureau of Health Preparedness, told The Columbus Dispatch.

Gene Phillips, chief of the Bureau of Environmental Health at the Health Department, said the disease is not transmitted through the air.

“There is some research to suggest that Ebola does not exist for a long period of time on surfaces," Phillips said. "Once it dries out, the virus is relatively inactive and there are other disinfectants that can be used to clean those areas.”

However, bodily fluids of an Ebola patient, including waste from vomiting and diarrhea, “have to be treated with the most utmost care,” he said.

“In an abundance of caution we are making sure we are ready and available for the worst-case scenario,” Phillips said.

Ohio reduced the number of people being monitored from 153 to 142 on Monday. Those being monitored may have made contact with 29-year-old Amber Vinson, the second Dallas nurse to have contracted Ebola, who flew to and from Cleveland between Oct. 10 and 13 to plan her wedding.

Pam Wright

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