Local Hospitals Ready for Contagious Virus

By Katie Hargitt

Published 08/07 2014 05:11PM

Updated 08/07 2014 06:55PM

27 patient isolation rooms are strategically placed throughout Union Hospital. The rooms allow doctors and nurses to keep patients infected with highly contagious viruses away from other patients and the general public. It's just one of the first steps of infection control in the Wabash Valley.

"There's guidelines that spell out what we need to do. We're familiar with those guidelines. Our team is well trained and we rehearse that and go through it just to make sure that any kind of risk is minimized," said Joe McKanna, Infection Control at Union Hospital.

If any patient comes to a local hospital with a contagious virus, the doctor must report to the local health department. Those local officials would then call in a specialized task force that trains year-round for both man-made and natural disasters, including viral outbreaks.

"Indiana and Task Force 7 is the most evolved task force response team in Indiana. We definitely are prepared and ready for just about anything that can really hit us," said Christina Keller with the Vigo County Health Department.

Although not deadly, Vigo County has dealt with a contagious virus before. In the fall of 2012, the largest outbreak of Chicken Pox in the country hit the area. Keller says it took the entire community the end that infection and it'd take the same effort in any other case. 

"Definitely a community process. It's not just the health department, it's not just the hospitals, it's not just law enforcement. We all work together so in the perfect world and everything is reported by the doctors and everything gets reported here and we disseminate information to the public," Keller said. 

More than 900 people have died from Ebola. The CDC has issued a level one warning for Western Africa, advising any US citizens to stay away from the area.

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