October 9th, 2014
10:42 AM ET

This is How New York City is Preparing for Ebola

As fears of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. increase, big cities are getting creative in how they're preparing for the worst.

Dr. Ross Wilson, the Chief Medical Officer for the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, tells CNN's Michaela Pereira they are sending actors to public hospitals in the Big Apple to fake symptoms of Ebola in order to test how well the staff identifies and isolates possible cases.

Dr. Wilson describes the process:

"We train simulated patients and then we take a standard script, they arrive at an emergency department and staff are unaware that these patients are not real patients, and this goes through for about 50 to 60 minutes until the patient is isolated or we end the scenario."

So what should the hospital staff be looking for and what is the proper response?

Two simple things,  Dr. Wilson says.

"Someone comes in with a headache, symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and a fever, immediately get a travel history."

If the person has been to the three countries in Western Africa – Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Liberia, they are immediately isolated.

And how is New York City doing?

Dr. Wilson is optimistic.

"We’ve been gratified that most things have gone right," he says.

"But there are a lot of human beings in this process and they all have to come together in the same way every time, with every patient."

Let us know what you think about this plan in our comments

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. DidiFlores

    I believe all patients should be stop and screen for fever before they enter the ER doors. It is the only way to keep a clear clean safe working conditions for health care workers and other patients.

    October 15, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  2. *nancy

    One other fact for healthcare workers to know, is how far back in time to ask about the travel history or presence in the affected countries?
    Ie if they were in Liberia 6 weeks ago, or two weeks ago, or 2 months ago- which needs isolation?

    October 13, 2014 at 10:24 am | Reply
  3. djb

    How long is the wait in the emergency room before these "patients" are seen, and is the waiting room crowded?

    October 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  4. Amanda

    Um, did not the independent journalist that just came down with Ebola in Africa, Ashoka Mukpo, get tested after he became "tired and achy"? And, he was positive for Ebola? How do we think waiting until a person is actually able to spread the disease is a good line of defense against this illness?

    October 10, 2014 at 8:41 am | Reply
  5. dianehoffmaster

    Forgive me for my stupidity but how do you fake a fever? That is a definitive symptom and not something you can act.

    October 9, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  6. Rebecca

    Although there will most likely be some agitated doctors due to wasted time, I believe this is a great way to show what exactly they know. Good plan.

    October 9, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  7. greycat200

    Great JOB! your doing more than the Federal gov. Obama should be taking lessons from you and your people because he does not have a clue of his own.

    October 9, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Reply

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