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LI hospitals and health officials say they're prepared for Ebola

Dr Victor Politi shows the different level of

Dr Victor Politi shows the different level of protective suits that are in place for any Ebola patients at NUMC on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014 in East Meadow. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Having an Ebola patient in nearby Manhattan has heightened the vigilance of Long Island hospitals and public health officials.

"We are going through continuous modifications and updates in protocols as the situation is changing," said Dr. Victor Politi, chief executive of NuHealth.

Twice a day at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, a video is being shown on how to don and doff protective clothing, and nurse educators are going floor to floor to explain and discuss protocols with healthcare workers, Politi said.

Stony Brook University Hospital, said the hospital -- designated by the state as one of eight that would care for Ebola patients -- started preparing three months ago, said Dr. Susan V. Donelan, medical director for healthcare epidemiology.

"I'm sure that the events in Dallas jump-started a lot of processes in the U.S. Everyone is in more break-neck speed," she said, referring to the death of Texas patient Thomas Eric Duncan from Ebola and the subsequent infection of two nurses at the Dallas hospital. "We feel we are ready. We hope not to need it."

The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System -- the other health care provider on Long Island designated by the state to care for Ebola patients -- announced Thursday that it planned to build a biocontainment unit that would serve as a place to treat people infected with a range of deadly and highly contagious diseases. That was the same day that it was announced that a New York City doctor, Craig Spencer, had been diagnosed with Ebola a week after returning from Guinea.

Friday, North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam said the 17-hospital system was considering building a second biocontainment unit.

The first would be built in Nassau at a still-undetermined location, he said. The second might be built in the city to accommodate the system's city hospitals.

In the meantime, another North Shore-LIJ spokesman, Brian Mulligan, said the health system is in a "pretty good position" to deal with Ebola. "We've being training staff, and we're pretty well coordinated."

Dr. Patrick M. O'Shaughnessy, chief medical officer for Catholic Health Services, said the system's six hospitals "are prepared to meet all requirements" of the state Department of Health and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both county health departments said they have been in constant contact with the state health department updating Ebola-related protocols.

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