Morris Health Experts Brief Freeholders on Ebola
Thursday, October 23, 2014
experts from two area hospitals told the Morris County Freeholders during the Freeholder work session Oct. 22 that their main goals during the recent Ebola outbreak include ensuring the
well-being of people coming into their facilities as well as the health of their
employees and the public.
Dr. Joel Maslow of Morristown
Medical Center and Dr. Donald Allegra, Dr. Alma Ratcliffe and Norma Atienza, RN,
of Saint Clare’s Health System said all of their hospitals have enhanced the
screening process of people coming in for treatment so as not to miss a
potential Ebola patient.
Dr. Allegra, Infectious
Disease Consultant at St. Clare’s, said if a person comes in for treatment
complaining of fever, muscle aches and nausea, it is important the screening
process inquires about the individual’s travel history, since those are also the
initial symptoms of Ebola.
Dr. Allegra said his hospital has been preparing for potential
Ebola patients for several months, when the outbreak in West
Africa began to intensify.
He said since travelers from African nations fly into Newark Liberty and
JFK airports, it would not come as a surprise if a person who has been exposed
to Ebola came to Saint Clare’s.
All four told the Freeholders their hospitals have placed a
greater emphasis on training their staff to protect the health of their
Dr. Ratcliffe, Executive Vice President for Medical
Affairs at Saint Clare’s, said the hospital has established two teams of nurses
who practice day in and day out on the proper management and care of an Ebola
One critical part of that training, she said, is putting
on and taking off the protective suits that must be worn when caring for an Ebola patient. Dr. Ratcliffe said
Saint Clare’s has established a “buddy” system, whereby one trained nurse helps another put
the protective suit on and carefully take it off.
Saint Clare’s Norma Atienza stated since the
guidelines from the Center for Disease Control keep changing to adapt to the
fluid Ebola situation, the education of hospital staff is a daily practice.
She said at the end of each
day, hospital officials have a teleconference with all of their managers to go
over the latest Ebola information that has been received from the CDC and from
state health officials. Managers are
then required to share that material with all of their employees, to ensure that everyone
at the hospital has the latest information.
Dr. Joel Maslow, Chief of
Morristown Medical Center’s Division of Infectious Diseases, said all of the
hospitals in the Atlantic Health System have procedures in place that are aimed
at the protection and safe treatment of the patient and the protection of staff
and everyone else in the hospital.
He stressed that Ebola is not
an airborne disease, with the only known route of infection being by coming in
direct contact with bodily fluids.
While clinical trials are being
run on Ebola treatments and vaccines, Dr. Maslow said to date, none have been
approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.
Scott DiGiralomo, Director of
the Morris County Department of Law and Public Safety, and Jeffrey Paul, Morris
County Emergency Management Director, told the Freeholders they have been in close contact
with EMS, first aid squads, police departments
and other first responders in the County
developing a protocol for treating and transporting possible Ebola patients.
Morris Health Management Office Launches Redesigned Website
Monday, October 20, 2014
The Morris County Office of Health Management has launched a redesigned website providing the most current public health and health care information, including updates on Ebola and the Enterovirus D-68 outbreak.
Visitors to the website, www.MorrisHealth.org
, can also obtain health information that is specific to Morris County, including reports on infectious disease, influenza, chronic illness and environmental health.
“Morris County residents need to be able to obtain quick and accurate information in the event of a health crisis or health alert in the county,” said Carlos Perez, Morris County Health Officer. “This new site is responsive, meaning it can be easily viewed on any device, and the health alerts are immediate and come from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the New Jersey Health Department.”
Recent health alerts have centered on Ebola and Enterovirus D68. Those and other health warnings are updated as needed and can be found on the website’s health blog, Perez said.
Information about healthy living, food safety, municipal health departments and rabies clinics is also available on the website, as are videos that cover a wide range of health, safety and preparedness topics, and training information and newsletters that are geared toward health professionals.
“The website is a resource on which people can rely for fast and accurate information about a health issue or a health emergency, should one arise in the county,” Perez said. “It is also a valuable tool as we in health management continue working to promote public health, to prevent the spread of disease, and to protect the environment through awareness, compliance, education, training and emergency response.”
The Office of Health Management website was redesigned in-house by the Morris County Office of Public Information.
Enhanced Road Resurfacing Program Moves to Mount Olive
Friday, October 17, 2014
Morris County’s expanded road resurfacing program is moving Monday to a portion of county-maintained Flanders Road in Mount Olive.
Basin work, milling and resurfacing of a seven-tenths of a mile stretch of the roadway, from Flanders-Netcong Road to Mount Olive Road is expected to begin on or about Monday, Oct. 20. Weather permitting, it is expected the project will be completed by Oct. 23.
Crews will be on site from approximately 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.
It is expected that one lane of Flanders Road will be kept open during the project, with traffic flow and any detours that may be necessary being managed by Mount Olive Police.
The work is part of the county’s enhanced road resurfacing program for 2014, according to Morris County Freeholder David Scapicchio, liaison to the Department of Planning and Public Works.
The Morris Freeholders increased the county capital budget earlier this year to allow for the repaving of approximately 33 miles of county-maintained roadways instead of the 17 miles per year the county normally averages, and the 22 miles the county repaved last year.
Freeholder Director Tom Mastrangelo said the freeholders are responding as a board to the concerns that have been expressed by county residents and local officials over county road conditions caused by the harsh 2013-2014 winter.
Morris County maintains 280 miles of county roadways.