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Ontario ramps up protocols to contain and treat Ebola

Ontario health officials have announced additional protocols, including more training and equipment, to help treat and contain any potential Ebola cases in the province.

Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins has asked Ontario’s chief medical officer to issue a directive to hospitals and other acute care settings about new personal protective equipment and training requirements, as well as enhanced procedures.

Hoskins says that while the risk of transmission of the disease is very low, it’s very important that front-line healthcare workers feel safe and protected.

Among the new procedures, two nurses will be assigned to any patient being treated for Ebola and to that patient only.

An Ontario lab will be equipped to test for Ebola beginning next week. Samples will still need to be sent to the Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for confirmation.

Hoskins will also chair an Ebola command centre of government and health care officials.

Dr. Hoskins made the announcement at Toronto Western Hospital along with Ontario’s interim chief medical officer of health Dr. David Mowat.

The hospital is one of the facilities in Toronto designated to treat patients who test positive for the virus.

Ten Ontario hospitals are designated referral centres, including the Hospital for Sick Children, St. Michael’s Hospital, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

View the below interactive map of the 10 hospitals. Mobile viewers click here.

Earlier this week, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario criticized what it called a lack of a clear plan, but Hoskins said Ontario is prepared to treat any suspected cases.

There have been eight suspected cases of Ebola in Ontario, but all of them were negative.

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