CHICAGO (KFVS) - Governor Pat Quinn announced on Wednesday a task force that will help ensure the public health system across Illinois is prepared for the Ebola virus.
According to a news release, the task force includes members representing health care, local public health, emergency responders, the Illinois State Board of Health, state agencies.
"We have learned that the best way to address the Ebola virus is to educate ourselves and know the facts," Governor Quinn said. "I have directed IDPH to assemble a task force of experts that can lead a coordinated effort to ensure everyone in Illinois receives timely and accurate information regarding any potential threat. While we have no confirmed cases, the state will take every safeguard to protect first responders, health care workers and the people of Illinois."
Last week IDPH launched an informational hotline where residents can call 1-800-889-3931 with questions or concerns regarding the Ebola virus.
IDPH will continue to provide all updated CDC guidance through SIREN (State of Illinois Rapid Electronic Notification) to appropriate audiences (infection control professionals, infectious disease physicians, laboratories, local health departments, health care providers, health care facilities, EMS systems).
IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck and Deputy Governor Cristal Thomas will co-chair the task force whose members include:
Vice President, Clinical Services, MCHC
Bechara Choucair, M.D.
Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health
President, Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators (IAPHA)
John Flaherty, M.D.
Professor in Medicine-Infectious Diseases, Northwestern University
Kiran Joshi, M.D., MPH
Senior Medical Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health
Richard M. Novak, M.D.
Division Chief, Infectious Diseases, University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System
Javette C. Orgain, M.D., MPH
Chair, State Board of Health (SBOH)
Pat Schou, FACHE
Executive Director, Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN)
Susan Y. Swart, MS, RN, CAE
Executive Director, ANA-Illinois & Illinois Nurses Foundation
Alexander Tomich, DNP, RN, CIC
Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Rush University Medical Center
Michael Wahl, M.D.
Director/Medical Director, Illinois Poison Center/MCHC
Stephen Weber, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Infectious Disease, The University of Chicago Medicine
Maryjane A. Wurth
President & Chief Executive Officer, Illinois Hospital Association
"Protecting the public from illness and disease is a core public health function and we work continuously with our partners to be prepared to handle any threat to the public," IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. "By establishing this task force we can bring key partners to the table to provide input and help us to ensure residents and hospitals across the state are informed and prepared to address Ebola."
The state is prepared to search for possible cases, implement infection control measures, support medical facilities, perform contact tracing and conduct laboratory testing. IDPH will continue to work with the CDC, local health departments, hospitals and medical facilities.
Preparedness steps IDPH has taken to prepare for a suspect or confirmed Ebola case in Illinois:
· Provided guidance to medical providers on identifying, evaluating and testing patients.
· Tested established public health systems to ensure contact tracing is readily available.
· Created Ebola.illinois.gov with information for IDPH health care partners.
· Established an Ebola informational hotline: 1-800-889-3931.
· Completed a CDC online assessment of our emergency preparedness and response activities related to Ebola.
· Convened conference calls with health departments and hospitals across Illinois.
For the most up to date information visit: Ebola.illinois.gov.