A Veterans Affairs hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico is conducting an “emergency installation” of air filters for Ebola patients, raising questions about what the government plans for the facility.
“This emergency service is for the creation of a Ward to attend suspected patients with the Ebola Virus that have to be quarantine,” explains a document justifying the use of a sole-source contract for the filters, which will cost about $18,000.
Manuel Delrio, an employee at the hospital, said by phone Sunday that to his knowledge, no patients at the facility currently have Ebola. “So far, we’re crossing our fingers, but we’ve had no issues at all,” Delrio said.
The U.S. military is engaged in combating Ebola in Liberia, and officials have had difficulty explaining the protocol for any soldiers that catch the deadly disease.
“This situation is considered an emergency and prompt attention is a required delaying repair will create a situation where an outbreak of Ebola may happen to patient, guest or employees,” the sole-source document says.
Several VA hospitals in the mainland United States have touted their preparedness for a potential Ebola outbreak in recent news stories.
“The resources we have available to us, the personnel we have available to us, are second to none,” Dr. Gary Badzinski, the Fayetteville, North Carolina VA’s chief of medicine told the Fayetteville Observer. “We are out in front of this.”
Officials at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida told the Tampa Tribune they were preparing for possible Ebola cases.
“We are fine-tuning operational plans to adjust for the special requirements of this specific virus,” Mary Kay Hollingsworth, spokeswoman for the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network, told the Tribune.
The VA Sunshine Healthcare Network oversees VA medical facilities in Florida, south Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.