Collaboration Strong During Ebola Risk Response, But System Needs a Few Tweaks, Officials Say

City councilmen Mike Polensek, left, and Matt Zone listen to testimony from health officials and emergency responders.
City councilmen Mike Polensek, left, and Matt Zone listen to testimony from health officials and emergency responders.
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Federal public health officials called the region’s effort a model for the nation, at an info session held at Cleveland City Hall attended by dozens of health and safety officials.

But work is still underway to reinforce preparedness for handling Ebola and other pathogens.

Councilman Jeff Johnson said the mayor’s office should have shared information faster with the council, and urged improvement.

Jennifer Hanrahan, an infectious disease specialist at MetroHealth Medical Center, said although every hospital is on high alert now, it’s too burdensome for them all to keep up continuous training.

She said designating one facility makes sense, but cautioned, "Any one hospital cannot take this on, because the perceived risk to other patients – even when there is none – means that people stop going to that hospital."

Toinette Parilla, head of Cleveland’s Public Health Department, said a plan is underway to have facilities take turns being “on call” to house any high-risk patients.

Also in progress is a protocol for safely transporting contagious patients.

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