WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) has begun weekly updates on the city’s preparedness for potential cases of Ebola. It’s a weekly tally on the Ebola threat in our city.
“All of the measures that are being taken in Winnipeg are proactive, and preventive,” said John Lane, WFPS Chief. “Winnipeggers can take confidence that they are well protected.”
Part of the update includes a screening process for those who call 911, thinking they may have symptoms.
“You ask about the flu-like symptoms,” said Dr. Rob Grierson, WFPS’s Medical Director. “Then you ask about contact history, ‘has the individual travelled to those areas.'” Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting and fever.
Since the screening process started on October 10, 2,700 calls have come into 911. Of those calls, 842 required advanced phone screening to rule out Ebola. But four of the calls produced red flags, meaning paramedics had to don extra personal protective equipment to examine the patient. None of those patients were determined a threat.
“We’ve screened about 31 per cent of our calls with those questions, virtually everyone is answering, ‘no’ in terms of travel history or contact with travel history,” said Dr. Grierson.
Despite these safety measures, the Public Health Agency continues to remind the public the risk to Canadians is low.