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Douglas County Responders Discuss Dealing With Ebola

A small group of emergency responders met at the MOCH Wellness Center Monday morning to discuss how Douglas County would deal with an ebola case, should the threat present itself.
The meeting was coordinated by the Ava/Douglas County Emergency Management Agency and the Douglas County Health Department. Representatives of all fire departments, law enforcement agencies, city and county officials and healthcare providers were invited.
Those attending the meeting were Ava/Douglas County EMA Director Billy Long; Valerie Reese, director of the Douglas County Health Dept.; Tim Shryack, director of Missouri Ozarks Community Health; Mark Alexander, Cox Health Systems pre-hospital services director; Steve Wood, supervisor Cox Ambulance-Ava; Ava City Clerk Suzanne Welsh; Keith Moore, Ava City Fire Chief; and Delbert Murray, Ava Rural Fire Chief.
Reese, Shryack and Alexander outlined procedures that are in place with each of their facilities or operations to deal with an ebola case. Alexander said the Springfield/Greene County medical community has had numerous meetings and is well-prepared to deal with an emergency situation.
“I think southwest Missouri is as well-prepared as any area,” Alexander told the group.
Local ambulance personnel are trained and equipped to deal with suspect cases.
First responders are being told if they are dispatched to a “sick call” with the criteria of ebola, they are not to enter the residence until a specially-equipped ambulance can be sent to the scene. This may require a wait of an hour or more, and the area is to be isolated until that unit arrives.
The likelihood of encountering a case of ebola in Douglas County is slim, but in today’s mobile society it cannot be ruled out. That’s why the local EMA is taking a proactive approach, Long said.