UC Davis Medical Center began treating a patient Thursday for a suspected case of the Ebola virus, according to representatives from the hospital and the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services.
The patient arrived at Mercy General Hospital in East Sacramento on Thursday morning before being transferred to UCD Medical Center around 9 a.m., UC Davis representatives confirmed. UCDMC is one of eight sites designated by state and federal health officials to treat possible Ebola cases in California.
The isolation room in which the patient is being held is “properly equipped and segregated,” and the patient poses “no risk to the public or medical center patients,” according to a statement from the hospital.
Dr. Gil Chavez, state epidemiologist and deputy director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement that the patient was being evaluated for Ebola but officials had not confirmed if the virus was present. Without specifically addressing whether the patient had been in West Africa, Chavez referred to protocols used whenever a person displays Ebola-like symptoms and has recently traveled to Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea.
The patient is considered low-risk, and health officials are gathering more information, said Laura McCasland, spokeswoman for the county health department. UC Davis canceled a news conference at the last minute Thursday afternoon with little explanation. It was unclear when test results would come back.
Mercy’s emergency department, where the patient initially sought treatment, was closed for cleaning after the patient was identified as a potential Ebola patient, said Melissa Jue, Mercy spokeswoman.
“In coordination with the public health department and CDC, Dignity Health Mercy General Hospital has transferred a patient to UC Davis Medical Center, which is specifically equipped to care for patients suspected of having or diagnosed with Ebola as part of the public health department’s preparedness plan,” Jue said in a statement. “We are proud of our caregivers and staff for the excellent care and compassion they showed to the patient and for their collaboration and attention to detail.”
UCDMC on Stockton Boulevard is one of two sites in Sacramento designated as an Ebola treatment center. The other is Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, south Sacramento.
Earlier this year, the UCD facility conducted many hours of Ebola-specific training for its nurses and physicians.
“Measures put in place to protect the health and safety of hospital workers and patients include extensive training on proper use of personal protective equipment and the establishment of a dedicated isolation room for treatment of suspected and confirmed Ebola patients,” UC Davis Health System said in a statement. “UC Davis Medical Center remains open and is continuing to operate as normal.”
The Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa in 2014 was the largest in history, killing 8,795 to date. A patient was quarantined at Kaiser Permanente in south Sacramento in August for possible Ebola before tests came back negative. UCDMC also treated a patient in October whose tests came back negative for Ebola.
Call The Bee’s Sammy Caiola, (916) 321-1636.