November 20, 2014
To: Municipalities of Alberta
Although the risk of Ebola in Alberta remains very low, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is working to ensure the province is prepared.
Comprehensive protocols and guidelines have been developed to provide the highest level of protection to all first responders and their patients.
Health care teams have received additional training and are equipped with enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Designated sites have been established in Calgary and in Edmonton to manage the ongoing care of an Ebola patient. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has initiated a multi-phased strategy, establishing strike teams in Calgary and Edmonton. Additional EMS teams will become operational in other communities as training expands in the coming weeks.
Screening tools have been developed for use in all acute care and community health sites to identify a possible Ebola case. New dispatch protocols are also in place to better protect all first responders. If the new screening tool identifies a possible Ebola case, EMS will take the lead to limit potential exposure to Medical First Responders, fire and police. This will be done by advising our partners in advance and may include a request to “stand down”.
An updated Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) plan can be found at AHS’ main Ebola information site: www.albertahealthservices.ca/ebola. It includes information for the public and for health care workers. We are inviting all Albertans to visit this website as their source of Ebola information. The website is being updated as further information becomes available. As part of the EVD plan, there are designated sites in Calgary and in Edmonton for the care of Ebola patients. Care of waste disposal is one of the aspects that is considered.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider disposal of patient waste using sanitary sewers safe, however using the guidelines outlined by the City of Edmonton’s Drainage Services and the City of Calgary’s Water Quality Services, AHS has created a plan to dispose of waste from patients with confirmed Ebola as biomedical waste and not using the sewer system.
As of today, there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in Alberta or Canada. We remain committed the safety of Albertans and the front line staff that cares for them every day. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates when they become available.
If you have any concerns or questions, please contact Health Link Alberta.
Dr. Gerry Predy
Senior Medical Officer of Health