HSA to get $800k Ebola unit

| 22/10/2014

(CNS): In an effort to keep the country free of the deadly Ebola virus the Cayman government has made a decision to ban anyone from, or who has visited, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Congo within the past 21 days from the Cayman Islands. But in case the virus is brought here, Cabinet has agreed to allocate the necessary $800,000 to buy a purpose-built isolation unit, or field hospital and personal protective equipment that officials will need to isolate or quarantine individuals. The health minister announced that alongside the travel ban officials are actively reviewing and considering options to further enhance the islands’ state of readiness.

“Staff will receive specialized training to ensure the correct use of this PPE. At today’s meeting, my colleagues and I were reassured by the clear evidence of inter-agency collaboration and cooperation, and we are confident that as a country we are on the right path in our approach,” Osbourne Bodden said following Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

“While I do not believe there is cause for alarm, we simply cannot afford to be complacent. As the Minister of Health, I am committed to keeping the governor, the premier and my Cabinet colleagues informed of any new developments on this front. My ministry is also committed to providing the public with regular updates concerning our efforts. I want to assure the public that we will keep them informed of our progress including weekly updates,” he said.

Concern had increased locally after the deadly virus reached the shore of the US and those concerns were heightened when a lab technician who had handled samples of the virus in Texas was discovered to be travelling on a cruise ship in the region last week. Although that health worker tested negative for Ebola and the ship cleared by the CDC this weekend the opportunity for the virus to move from place to place unchecked raised the alarm.

Bodden said Wednesday that officials, from 13 agencies have been working together for several weeks now, to prevent the Ebola virus from entering Cayman and are in regular communication about plans and procedures, to satisfy theprotocols necessary to contain the virus.

“This committee has considered a range of matters to date, including entry screening protocols, contact tracing, and contingency plans that cover issues such as: transportation, isolation and quarantine, case management and infection control measures,” the minister added. “Government is also monitoring the situation in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia—the three remaining African countries with outbreaks, now that Nigeria has been declared Ebola free. We have also been monitoring the situation in the United States, where they had their first cases, as well as the emerging situation in Congo.”

The Immigration Department and Public Health department have created a health questionnaire to address passengers’ travel patterns for the four weeks before their arrival in the Cayman Islands. The cruise lines have also distributed similar health questionnaires to passengers before they embark, and there are established procedures and protocols whereby a passenger who becomes unwell is not permitted to disembark.

“If a passenger has a travel history to one of the affected countries and appears well, the person will be placed in the Public Health office in the airport arrival hall, and the HSA team will be contacted. If the person is unwell, staff will call 911. An emergency medical services (EMS) team will assess the passenger through a Health Screening questionnaire that will elicit exposure history. They will also take that person’s temperature. A passenger who does not have any fever or other symptoms, and is a visitor, will be denied entry and quarantined until departure,” Bodden said as he explained the now defined procedure for handling Ebola should the need arise.

He said residents will have an option to be quarantined in a designated place at the Cayman Islands Hospital, or in their own home supervised by security guards, if all household members were also passengers, or if living alone.

“If quarantined in the Hospital – the individual will also be watched by a security guard, and arrangements made for daily needs to be met in a manner similar to any inpatient of the Hospital. Similar arrangements will assist the daily needs of persons quarantined at home.”

Quarantine notices will be served by the Medical Officer of Health and passengers will also receive information about the Ebola quarantine and how to self-monitor for signs of the illness. Quarantined persons will be instructed to inform their security guard, or contact the telephone number on the quarantine notice, if they become unwell at any time, or for any concern or need. During quarantine period, the Public Health team will monitor the person’s temperature twice a day. If at any time the person has a temperature of 101˚F, they will be moved to an isolation room and managed as a suspect case.

The HSA has adequate protective gear for Hospital staff, should a suspect case arise, and is procuring additional supplies. It is also organizing training through an overseas facility and webinars in all aspects of managing the virus.

Hospital boss, Lizette Yearwood, will also be appearing on Cayman 27 this evening to talk about the field hospital that the government will be buying. The HSA already has 500 protective suits, and extra hoods and head shields have been ordered. Facing the worst case scenario an Ebola care team of volunteers is also being trained. The field hospital will be able to house up to eight patients in isolation and the unit will be able to quarantine patients who had been exposed to the disease but not necessarily sick

See health minister's full VT Ebola message here

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Comments (87)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So what's the point? NYC Ebola patient PASSED new 'enhanced screening' at JFK Airport – only to fall victim days later.

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    We couldn't have just "borrowed" one of the government homes in BT that no one can live in yet and renovate it? It's away from much of the population and in an abandoned (or never used) residential neighborhood… cayman gov, spending money they don't have and ignoring resources they do have. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well,  I think it is a GREAT idea  !  GOOD MOVE !  we need something like this

    Just imagine …what if …what if a passenger gets sick ..what then ???

    then you all would runt and complain and ask "why was nothing done before "

    So you all shut up ! and be GLAD they do smething positive and prepare !!

    It will come !!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Once again we Cayman at its hypocritical best.

    First we witness the greed and victim mentality of those seeking free handouts, or slavery reperations as they like to dignify their cheap claim as. Then we see the inhumanity of their greed when instead of offering financial or medical aid to support the fight against Ebola, they reveal that they are more concerned about their own privileged lifestyle than the plight of the very same people that they claim to be descended from.

    Not one cent appears to be coming from those countries, including Cayman, who profess to cherish their 'African' roots and hardships of their forefathers, not one cent. As per usual Cayman, (possibly the wealthiest Caribbean nation) wraps itself up in the cloak of self interest and looks inward instead of projecting a humanitarian response to a humanitarian issue. Once again, whilst you hide behind your fear and isolationist policies, others are risking their lives in order to keep you safe and all you seem capable of is ignorance, panic and tokenism.

    You should be deeply ashamed and embarrassed at your failure to think of anything or anyone other than than yourselves.

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    I really hope it's not Ebola specific, but would serve for any inectious disease/potential pandemic.  Good infectious disease protocols and training would serve us far better in the long term than something too focused on one disease we may never see, but would enable us to face that threat as well should it arise.

  6. Anonyanmous says:

    Ebolsa is a serious virus and make no mistike if just one case arrives here and we are not prepared it could wipe out the entire population in record time.  So yet spending $800k to avoid the risk is money well spent.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    Woe from Wit . Ignorance is bliss. The less you knowthe better you sleep.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Not a single person from the very close family contact of the ONE diceased Ebola person in the USA got infected. NONE. Mass hysteria. As if there are no other deadly contagious diseases.

  9. Anonymous says:

    $80,000?

    Hmmmm, 10 or 15 per cent of that is a nice "commission" for someone.

    I hope the Auditor General has a close look at this transaction.

  10. Anonymous says:

    At least we know where this $800,000 went… They are still trying to figure out where the other $10,00,000,000 is. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    Getting it and knowing how to use it is two completely different stories. Why do we have to rush to purchase something that we might never need. I agree with staying vigilant and cautious but don't tell me we need to be running off and spending $800,000.00 that we just do NOT have.

  12. Nutha Brutha says:

    Would rather see them use $800,000 to eradicate the green iguana scourge. DOE says there are about 80,000 pooping up the place. Let's pay out $10 for each live, unharmed specimen delivered to DOE. Problem solved. Iguanas and crackheads off the streets. No need for a special committee. I know! Amazing eh? You're welcome.

     

     

     

  13. Anonymous says:

    Most Caymanians haven't been to Cayman Brac and probably couldn't find the infected countries on a map. And that is why the ignorant panicking that is expressed on this site is so worrying.

    • Anonymous says:

      "N.Y. doctor positive for Ebola had no symptoms until Thursday, officials say"

      • Anonymous says:

        So what? Unless you kissed him on the mouth  when he had already exibited symptoms. Another round of  mass hysteria.I would worry more about dengue.

      • Anonymous says:

        AND? He's obviously in isolation now and not on his way here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most Caymanians have travelled overseas and are well aware of basic geigraphy. That is just an ignorant comment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sure they are aware of basic "geigraphy"! 

        Probably just cannot spell the word. It is amusing to call another ignorant when you appear to have difficulty with the language.

        • Anonymous says:

          Only a fool would not recognise that as a typo. Obviously, "i" is right next to "o" on the keyboard.

      • Anonymous says:

        Going to Miami or Tampa isn't travelling, it's shopping. Once you have been to West Africa and seen these desperate countries for yourself then please engage further. Until then learn to spell geography and be sure of your facts.

        • Anonymous says:

          Stupid comment. Obviously a typo. Back to the poster's original point, going to Miami and Tampa is obviously farther than Cayman Brac and people go there for many reasons not limited to shopping but, regardless, it is still travel. I don't know which fact you think I got wrong.    

  14. Anonymous says:

    $800,000!!! I sure hope we get to use it… wait a minute….

    • Anonymous says:

      Have the designated persons been trained at an overseas Disease and Detection Centre to cope in the proper manner????  It should be top of the lpreparation list.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Yet another poor knee jerk decision by people incapable of making rational, well informed ones.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Ebola can potentially wipe out this entire island. This is a very destructive diseaase that moves very quickly. Ozzie and his ministry should be proud. I am happy you are taking thenecessary preventative measures to ensure this disease does not affect us.  To the rest of you complaining about the amount of $$ being spent please do your reseach and educate yourselves.  If we had one case of Ebola on this island and it was your loved one you would NOT be so negative.

    • Too funny says:

      It's simply amazing how ignorant people can be.

    • Anonymous says:

      'Educate yourself', me thinks you should practice what you preach. Ebola can only be transmitted by contact with bodily fluids, it isn't airbourne and cannot be caught by being in the same room unless physical contact with infected fluids takes place. The risk of a major outbreak in the UK, where thousands of students from West Africa live and study, is considered minimal. So how the hell do you think that Ebola is going to make its way to Cayman, how many people do you know have ever visited, let alone know where these infected countries are in the first place?

      850 UK soldiers are as we speak building new healthcare facilities and helping stop the spread of the disease at source. The UK government have promised another multi million pound aid package and the U.S. is doing much the same. 

      Instead of indulging in uneducated smoke blowing, why don't you send some cash to the many charities who are operating in the area and trying to stop the spread to countries near and far. People are putting their lives at risk to potentially save yours, why don't you stop the stupidscaremongering and actually do something for someone else for a change.

    • Anonymous says:

      So could malaria, cholera, TB, HIV or flu, potentially.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      NCVO need the money donated this weekend to help look after and feed your children!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      If ebola wipes out the entire island,that would mean the rest of the world is already gone, so why worry about something you have no control over.

  17. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of ingrates we have become! One day we are cussing the government for not doing anything and now we are cussing them for doing something. I swear to God Caymanians need to get a clue. We are the bigest bastards to each other. I really hope that all these people posting negative comments remember this when the first case arrives. The prediction in West africa is for 10,000 new cases each week. Lets see if any of you will regret having somewhere for them to go when that happens.

     

     

  18. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn't Cayman send the $800,000 to support the brave UK and US armed forces and medical teams who are risking their lives to stop this disease reaching Cayman in the first place.

    For all the shallow talk of slaverey reperations to Caribbean countries, I don't see much sign of those same countries or people coughing up to support the very nations that their forefathers are descended from. Emergencies like this only go to reinforce the lack of humanity and hypocracy of those who want a handout instead of offering one in times of need.

    Cayman isn't at risk from Ebola, how many people have ever travelled from or through these infected countries to come to this island, in history, let alone modern times? This is a huge waste of money, money better spent on aiding the teams fighting the disease at source. Or, supporting the many people on these islands that will die from diabetes, heart disease, road accidents or flu this year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot, thousands of people come here everyday

      • Anonymous says:

        But not from infected countries. The onlypeople to have been infected outside of the African area of infection are health workers directly in contact with infected individuals. And I think it is fair to say that ALL those who may have such contact are aware of their obligations for 21 day symptom observation and quarantine, as are their employers.

        The stupidity of your response is breathtaking.

      • Anonymous says:

        And many will have HIV, common colds, pre-flu symptoms and many other potentially infectious conditions. So let's pull up the drawbridge and hide shall we. Idiot.

    • Anonymous says:

      The caribbean countries that are arguing slavery reparation would than likely blame Ebola on the white man and would look more of financial compensation for themselves as oppose to assisting the nations are truly being affected.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Can I rent one of the suits for Halloween? I was going to dress as McKeeva and have my wife dress as a slot machine, but it turns out everybody I know is planning to use that same combo.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Why mr Osborn used the word  INFORMED so many times ?  Is he talking about getting into a other 800,000 K $ . Rather than useing the word keeping us SAFE from this deadly dease .

  21. Anonymous says:

    Unbelievable!

  22. Anonymous says:

    BOY I wish I was selling those tents…..

    • Anonymous says:

      This reminded me of the Y2K –  so many parts had to be replaced in computers.  Better to be prepared then never!!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Everyone should be terrified of cardiovascular disease – a mostly avoidable condition that will kill at least half of us at some point.    

  24. Slowpoke says:

    Lots of $$$'s that would have better been spent on mental health (Mental Heath Day), a real current issue in Cayman affecting thousands, rather than an imaginary threat.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the govt. had done nothing you would hear that we are not prepared for a potential major disaster. Nothing about Ebola threat is imaginary. We have tourists visiting these Islands in the 100s of 1000s both on cruise ships and aircraft. We have a highly mobile population. If Ebola made its way to Dallas from Liberia it can just as easily make its way here. Why the constant negativity about everything?

      Mental health is an important issue but it pales in comparison to the potential disaster if there is even one Ebola case on Island.

      • Slowpoke says:

         Would you like to compare the number of deaths as a result of suicide as compared to Ebola in Cayman?

        Dind't think so.

        • Anonymous says:

          Natural population control…..only the strong survive….

           

        • Anonymous says:

          wow!! you are as ignorant as they come. In your world you need numbe rof ebola deaths in Cayman to find out why the money is set aside for preparedness? I think engaging you beyond this comments wont help (you) much.

          • Slowpoke says:

            If you believe that "the theory of evolution" is more than a theory, and Ebola "evolves" or mutates, so that airborne transmission becomes possible, I would fully agree with you.  Until then, the money could be better spent.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I think we need to get some perspective on the situation. Government intends to spend $800,000 on specialist equipment to counteract a virus which has this year killed less than 20,000 people.What have the spent on prevention of Tubercloius which killed 1,100,000 people  last year!

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Less than 5000 worldwide deaths, and only one accidental death in our hemisphere.

    • 13 years here says:

      Or the rampant STDs with our young poplulation.  I work with teens and they have a warped sense of using condoms and think it is cool to get pregant before 18?  $800,000 could educate an entire generation and give our youth a fighting chance.

      As always, "look, there is a dolphin" mentality instead of thinking long term.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I support the decision to be ready but…..did we really need to buy this when we may have been able to enter into an option to buy this on short notice.

    I reality, we could have just purchase a large circus tent and some orange constuction barriers (commonly seen on CNN) until the Mobile Surgical Hospital Unit option was exercised and DHL overnighted it in.  

     

    IF NO EBOLA……then we would likely save about $700,000 the option would be say $70,000 and the large circus tent thing might be $30,000.  And best of all….we could set it up in Hero Square for special events like the MAC Bush Trial (Im sorry could help myself but the clowns were out that day in town honking their noses at cars)

    At this point, it would be wise to leave it with the manufactuer to perhaps sell to another customer if no Ebola comes to Cayman. Pay them some storage fees for 12 months and by next year Ebola will be gone and we wont have a tent hospital sitting behind the hospital with Rats chewing at the plastic and we can likely sell it to say the African Red Cross for $400,000 so it actually gets put to use.

     

  27. Anon-E-mousy says:

    Even more brilliance from the 'Genius minds' that gave us the $200m High-Tech schools … but don't have the $ to buy photocopy paper!

    News-flash!

    IF someone w Ebola actually does arrive here by (plane or boat), we're already stuffed !

    A cheaper & more effective method would be a sign on every CAL aircraft door that says:

    "All persons entering the Cayman Island with a fever will be shot on arrival".

    Total cost? US$100 / aircraft … maybe?

  28. anon. says:

    Good job, but where was all that money pulled from? Seriously, I want to know.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Can a person travelling from one of those countries who of course has to connect in the US just say they are coming from one of the connecting destinations instead of their actual country? I know I didn't phrase that correctly, but what would stop them from saying they are from Atlanta or Miami instead of Liberia? Just their passport? Curious minds want to know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Their passports would be a big clue.

      • Anonymous says:

        Newsflash! 

        BA flies direct to London from Lagos and Abuja. Nobody checks passports for previous journeys coming through London, as they don't when visitors arrive here.

        Oh yes, and Nigeria has been now classed as clear of Ebola, so why the hell should it matter anyway?

         

        • Anonymous says:

          I you check back, last week Nigeria was still on the Cayman Islands' original high risk list.

    • Anonymous says:

      More likely Air France via Montreal or Toronto, then Air Canada.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing, it's exactly the same as when I flew into ORIA on BA from Heathrow last week after having been in Nigeria. Immigration assumed I'd come from London.  

       

  30. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn't we ban anyone that's recently been to Cameroon also. JUst sayin. 

  31. Anonymous says:

    waste of money!!!!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Just as long as we're not overreacting.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Un-f***ing-believable!!!!!!! I wonder who got the 'commission' on this sale? 

  34. Bluff Patrol says:

    Cha! Should have bought it when it was on sale. No chance of getting a bargain now!

  35. Anonymous says:

    Please correct me if I am wrong didn't they say last week that we are prepared and have the necessary equipment….maybe I read wrong and if i did "sorry"

  36. Caribbean / says:

    And that's $800,000 we may never use!  I say hold off on the purchase and watch the epidemic. If it grows at our doorstep then we buy… But I think such a purchase will be too soon and I believe we can get one for a better deal. /  I don't hear no other Caribbean island purchasing such an extravagant tent. 

    • Anonymous says:

      So suppose someone shows with the symptoms, where do you suggest we put them? Should we leave them out in the rain?   Better to be ready in the event it happens. The rest of the Caribbean will do what they think is best, our Government did what they think is best unless of course you might have a better idea.

      • Anonymous says:

        Put them in the Glass House… that's sitting there doing nothing

      • Anonymous says:

        Don't forget you'll have to feed them,do their laundry, provide facilities for showering and dispose their garbage.Properly. Well,entertain for 21 days so they would not  go nuts.

  37. Anonymous says:

    THIS IS SO STUPID. 1) Banning people will just encourage people to lie. You can’t possibly know where people have gone in the past 21 days unless they took a direct flight. 2) 800K??. Yes, we need to be able to handle a case should it show up but if these people are actually and legally banned and they are found to lie about it, quarantine them and get them the next medically equipped flight out of here ASAP at their own expense. It’s not regular people sitting on a plane next to these people catching the disease, it’s those who are caring for them and interacting with their blood and feces. We open a unit that boasts that it is equipped to handle this sort of thing, it’s encouraging countries surrounding to send their infected here…

    $3M/$800k?? And the government doesn’t have money to spend on AIDS, a real problem? And for a chemo treatment center? Why don’t we all invest in underground bunkers while we’re at it now that terrorism has hit Canada of all places – we could be next (insert sarcastic eyeroll here).

  38. Anonymous says:



    What about Cameroon? Stick the speaker in there for 21 days – be just like Easter for her

  39. Anonymous says:

    This is ridiculous.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Obviously nearing the end of the budget cycle, had some excess cash and spent it otherwise they will get less money next year. Ebola is just another scare story, paranoia media feeding frenzy. It is terrible for the people involved in West Africa, but measures are already in place around the world to prevent its spread. For someone with Ebola to arrive here on the island, they would have had to go though the screening process in either UK, USA or Canada. For Central America and the rest of the Caribbean, they would have all had to go through Miami, USA. Yet another waste of money.