Health officials report on how prepared Hawaii is for Ebola virus

State lawmakers got an update from health officials Wednesday on just how prepared Hawaii is for infectious disease outbreaks, particularly the Ebola virus.

The state Dept. of Health emphasized that the risk of the Ebola virus in Hawaii is extremely low and that the disease is not very infectious because it requires direct contact with contaminated blood or fluids.

Health officials believe Hawaii hospitals are prepared to handle this type of disease, but can still do more.

“The Ebola virus is waking us up to the fact that you can’t cut corners,” said state epidemiologist Sarah Park. “We’ve had infection control policies in place for years. We’ve had the training and the resources. The problem has been we’ve not fully enforced it. We’re not talking about a new standard here. We’re talking about enforcing the current standard.”

Health officials say hospitals will be conducting drills to find the weak areas and address them.

Another informational meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday morning, Oct. 29, at the State Capitol.


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