- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

LEBANON, N.H. (AP) - If a patient is diagnosed with Ebola in New Hampshire, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center will be the sole hospital in the state designated to provide long-term care, the center announced Wednesday.

State health officials said that while all hospitals in the state are capable of identifying and isolating patients with symptoms of Ebola infection, not all of them can provide long-term care and deal with the complications of the virus.

There are currently no suspected Ebola patients in New Hampshire, health officials say. The only patients confirmed to have been diagnosed with the virus while in the U.S. are in Dallas, where a man traveling from Liberia developed Ebola and transmitted it to two health care workers caring for him.

Health officials say they can better serve New Hampshire patients by focusing advanced preparations on one hospital.

“We are grateful that Dartmouth-Hitchcock has stepped forward and agreed to be the referral hospital for New Hampshire,” said Dr. Jose Montero, director of public health for the state Department of Health and Human Services. “As we learn more about this outbreak and this virus, it makes sense to adapt our plans and procedures to better serve Granite Staters and focusing advanced preparation on one hospital is one way to do this.”

Health officials say any patients treated at Dartmouth-Hitchcock may be transferred to other facilities nationwide. They say they will work with the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify the optimal location for treatment.

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