Hey, this Ebola Czar idea is already paying dividends, huh?
US troops deploying to W. Africa given just 4 hours of Ebola training:
Soldiers preparing for deployment to West Africa are given just four hours of Ebola-related training before leaving to combat the epidemic. And the first 500 soldiers to arrive have been holing up in Liberian hotels and government facilities while the military builds longer-term infrastructure on the ground.
For soldiers at Fort Campbell and Fort Bragg preparing for their deployments to West Africa, Mobile Training Teams from the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), based out of Fort Detrick, have been tasked with instructing them on Ebola protocols.
A team of two can train as many as 50 personnel over that four-hour time frame, USAMRIID told The Daily Beast. The training includes hands-on instruction on how to put on, remove, and decontaminate personal protective equipment, followed by a practical test to ensure that soldiers understand the procedures.
But it's all okay, because we won't be giving them any of the equipment they'd need to deal with Ebola anyways. We're just going to send them there with gloves and masks.
No hazmat suits for troops going to Africa:
Troops from the 101st Airborne Division leading the military response to Ebola in West Africa will only need gloves and masks to protect themselves from the deadly virus, so said Gen. David Rodriguez at a Pentagon briefing Wednesday.Perfect. Because the one thing that's worked out so well here already, is treating Ebola victims at home.
“They don’t need the whole suit – as such – because they’re not going to be in contact with any of the people,” the commander of U.S. troops in Africa said.
Soldiers from the 101st Airborne will primarily be building hospitals, ultimately leading what could be a contingent of 4,000 American service members. They’ll be housed either in tent cities at military airfields or in Liberian Ministry of Defense facilities, Rodriguez said.
Soldiers’ health will be monitored through surveys and taking their temperature on their way in and out of camps. If a service member does get sick, Rodriguez said they will be flown home immediately for treatment.
And those 23 BL4 Ebola isolation beds I told you about?
Well, it turns out there are really only about 11-13, if they have enough staffing:
Altogether, those four hospitals can accommodate just 8-13 patients, said Phil Smith, medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, which has treated a U.S. missionary and is treating a television news cameraman, both of whom contracted the virus in West Africa. He said Nebraska has 1-2 Ebola beds, Emory 2 beds, St. Patrick Hospital in Montana 1-2 beds and the National Institutes of Health in Maryland 4-7 beds. "But I don't know if they (NIH) have the staffing," he said.And currently, four of them are filled:
Smith said the U.S. State Department decides which patients get beds at the four biocontainment units.
Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, the two infected THP-Dallas nurses;
Ashoka Mukpo, the NBC cameraman;
and Name Unknown WHO employee.
So what happens when there's no more room at those facilities?
Once those spots run out, Ebola patients will be treated where they are, and officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be dispatched to help care for them and make sure precautions are taken to ensure that no one else contracts the deadly virus, said CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds.
Perfect! Once those spots are filled, this all lands back at local hospitals, so well-trained and fully prepared the first time around, and under the full supervision of the same people that got us where we are right now: the ace professionals running the CDC.
But don't worry; the military will be forming a 30-person "Ebola Strike Team":
The U.S. military is forming a 30-person "quick strike team" equipped to provide direct treatment to Ebola patients inside the United States, a Defense Department official told CNN's Barbara Starr on Sunday. The team -- made up of doctors, nurses and specialized trainers -- will be under orders to deploy within 72 hours at any time over the next month, the official said.
No word yet on whether those good folks will get the full four hours of Ebola training.
UPDATE: The Pentagon says specialized training for a new, 30-member U.S. military Ebola response team will take place at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
The Defense Department said its rapid-response team will feature 20 critical care nurses and five doctors trained for infectious disease environments, as well as five trainers in infectious diseases protocols.
It will receive up to seven days of training with personnel from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at the San Antonio post.
That includes drills on infection control and instruction on special protective equipment.
On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had ordered the formation of the unit from across the services to assist civilian medical professionals in the U.S. if needed to treat Ebola.
The team would not be sent to West Africa or other overseas locations, and would "be called upon domestically only if deemed prudent by our public health professionals," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement Sunday.
The team will then remain on standby status for 30 days, ready to assist civilian medical personnel treating Ebola threats around the United States.