- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - State officials say that they learned lessons from the Ebola diagnoses of two health care workers in Texas and that hospital systems in Minnesota are now revising their procedures for handling potential cases.

Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said at a news conference Friday that Minnesota hospitals plan to identify, isolate and stabilize any patients with Ebola and then move them to designated hospitals with expanded capabilities for treatment.

“The situation in Texas has taught us a lot,” Ehlinger said. “We’ve understood that it’s really the health care workers that are at the greatest risk, so that has helped us in terms of our planning with the hospitals.”

The state nurses union earlier this week called for advanced protective gear for health care workers.

Initially, officials thought every hospital would be able to treat patients with the virus. Ehlinger said any Minnesota hospital could handle early cases of the virus, but the later, more infectious stages would be treated at specialized facilities.

If cases pop up before the plans are finalized and those centers are chosen, patients could be transported out of state. There are currently no patients in Minnesota suspected of having Ebola.

A Minnesotan returning from Ghana on Thursday who did not meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention threshold for testing for Ebola was checked anyway; the results were negative.

Gov. Mark Dayton said a decision about whether Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will be added to the list of advance screening sites for Ebola could come next week. Dayton met with federal lawmakers and public safety and health officials Friday afternoon ahead of the news conference.


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