Five UC Hospitals Now Designated for Ebola Care

UCSF is one of the five centers designated. (Niall Kennedy/Flickr)
UCSF is one of the five centers designated. (Niall Kennedy/Flickr)

The five medical centers of the University of California will serve as designated Ebola treatment centers should a person in the state become ill from the virus.

While public health officials are calling on all hospitals in California to redouble preparations for screening and isolating patients at risk for Ebola, those who are confirmed to have the virus will be transferred to a UC medical center in San Francisco, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, or San Diego.

“As a public university, stepping up to a public health crisis, like a potential Ebola outbreak, is what we do,” says Brooke Converse, spokesperson for the UC Office of the President. “Our overall mission as the University of California is to serve Californians and serve the taxpayers and the public.”

Dr. Josh Adler, chief medical officer at UCSF Medical Center, says it makes sense to consolidate care to a handful hospitals. It can take two to three weeks to recover from Ebola and requires an incredible amount of resources for hospitals to provide the rigorous level care and infection control that's needed.

“It's easier to imagine that happening well in a smaller number of places that have really focused on it, rather than every hospital being able to sustain that for weeks on end,” he says.

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Still, even with the geographic spread of the UC Medical Centers, there are still gaps in the state, like the Central Valley, that do not have a designated Ebola treatment center. Adler says it would be good to have a few more hospitals so that patients who may become ill would not have to travel so far to be transferred.

The California Hospital Association says it plans to release a list next week of additional hospitals that will be able to receive patients with a confirmed diagnosis. Earlier this week Kaiser Northern California said that any Ebola patients that present within its system will be treated at one of two of its hospitals -- Kaiser Oakland or Kaiser South Sacramento.

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At present, there are no known or suspected cases of Ebola in California.

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