Grand Strand community prevents and prepares for Ebola

Grand Strand community prevents and prepares for Ebola

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Ebola. It's a crisis, an epidemic and a growing concern, not just overseas, but here, where we live.

While there are no reports of Ebola in South Carolina, hospitals say they're on top of the issue and that starts with education.

Danielle DeTrude is a Coastal Carolina University student, extremely interested in world health. Her interest took her overseas last year to Sierra Leone.

She shared pictures from her trip with WMBF News. Behind every face in the pictures is a story. The children and people in the pictures live in Sierra Leone, a place submerged with infectious disease like Ebola.

"Not everyone has the same access to health care,” said DeTrude. “There are many people who live miles away from hospitals and maybe don't have cars."

Alongside her, Professor Fredanna M'Cormack and their friend from the country, Hassan, are fighting for change.

Danielle wants to stress conditions that can happen overseas, can also happen here, as we have already seen.

The groups' social media campaign is only the beginning. The money they raise, and money out of pocket will go towards education to break the stigma of Ebola, and  to stop it from spreading.

“What I really want to stress is that I believe the fear of this virus in the United States can be a bigger epidemic than the virus itself,” said DeTrude. “At this moment in time prevention education is key and will save lives."

Education is exactly what's happening at Grand Strand Medical Center.

“We're very aware of what's going on,” said Mark Sims,  CEO at Grand Strand Medical Center. We want to listen to what's happening across the country and making sure if we need to adjust plans, we do that, but we have the processes right now to deal with these patients."

Those processes start from the minute you walk through hospital doors. Sims said the hospital is not taking the Ebola situation lightly.

To keep people from not only roaming the hospital, but taking possible diseases with them, the minute anyone walks in, they're asked simple, but important questions: "Have you been out of the country in the last 21 days? Do you have any flu like symptoms?”

If the answer is yes, or there's a chance you could have been around the disease, the hospital will isolate the patient immediately from all other patients in the waiting room and in the ER. They'll take into a triage area, making sure they have an unlimited number of medical personnel.

Staff will have protective equipment to keep them from contracting the virus.

The hospital has been conducting mock drills with pretend Ebola patients to prepare the emergency room for the real thing. This is testing the hospitals process so they can be ready to handle patients appropriately.

Grand Strand Medical Center is making sure it not only educates employees and visitors with these precautionary measures, but keeps on top of any illness that may spread.

“We've been dealing with infectious disease for many years across the county. We have the resources in place we have the expertise and this is something we're focused on daily,” said Sims.

An important part of this process is going to the doctor, if you've left the country or if you do feel you could be sick.
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