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St. Elizabeth staff drill for disease outbreak

Posted at 4:30 AM, Dec 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-14 07:02:28-05

EDGEWOOD, Ky. -- Remember that whole ebola outbreak a few years back?

The people at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Edgewood remember it. They've been taking a look at how they would handle that kind of emergency, preparing precautions in the event they receive a patient with a fever who recently traveled to a country with highly-infectious diseases.

It was part of a statewide drill on how to handle a potentially deadly contagion in Kentucky. 

"We need to practice. We need to drill," Lee Ann Ernst, coordinator of St. Elizabeth's Infectious Disease Response Team, said. "We need to look at the what-ifs."

Response team director Dr. Dora Savani said the hospital has support from the state epidemiologist, the Kenton County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the drill, the hospital installed a makeshift intensive care unit with rooms set up for isolation. 

"This facility actually mirrors our real intensive care unit here," Ernst said. 

They said they've learned a lot in the years since that ebola outbreak.

"Hopefully we'll never need to use it, but if we do, we want to be prepared," Savani said.