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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Federal officials held an informational conference call on Ebola Monday and among the thousands of people listening was the head of the local Healthcare Workers Union that represents 4,000 healthcare workers.

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“You were on the call today,” asked CBS4’s Brian Andrews.  “Yes, I was on the call with the HHS,” said Jackson Memorial Hospital nurse Martha Baker and head of the union.  “The real tricky part is identifying the patient before you know, and that’s the place where the public gets exposed, other patients, and other caregivers, when no one knows.”

Watch Brian Andrews’ report, click here.

The highlights of Monday’s call included the triple bagging medical waste, gowns, and linens when Ebola is suspected, a refresher on the basics of how it’s spread, the proper use of protective gear and questions even the emergency room secretary should be asking patients when the walk through the door.

“There’s no guarantee that someone with any one of these symptoms is going to just come to Jackson.  They may go to any other hospital in Dade County and they have to be ready,” said Baker.

Going forward, Baker said she wants to know whether Jackson has the equipment necessary.

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“It used to be you had a gown, a mask, maybe a shield, now they want it to be all one piece, those are new, and we need to make sure those are inventoried at Jackson,” she said.

Emails to a hospital spokesperson seeking a response to whether they had an adequate number of PPE suits available were not returned.

State officials said only 55 of 210 Florida hospitals have completed Ebola preparedness training.

Hospitals in Miami-Dade and Broward are on the list, but the governor’s office couldn’t tell CBS4 exactly which ones are complete.


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