The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have been named Ebola treatment centers by state health officials, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday. The two hospitals are among 35 designated to treat Ebola in 12 states and the District of Columbia, and are the only two in Pennsylvania.
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick was also identified as a treatment center, the only hospital named in New Jersey.
The Penn hospital has been preparing to treat Ebola for several months, according to Susan Phillips, senior vice president for public affairs of the Penn Health System. A patient with Ebola taken there would be treated in a facility that is isolated from the rest of the hospital, which would continue to operate normally.
Children's is prepared to treat a child with Ebola and continue all other normal care. The hospital is one of five pediatric hospitals designated as Ebola treatment centers.
The 35 hospitals were determined to have the staff, training, equipment, and resources to fight Ebola with minimal risk to hospital staff. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "Rapid Ebola Preparedness" team of experts on various aspects of treating and containing Ebola assessed each hospital on efforts such as infection control, waste management, and personal protective equipment use. The CDC has assessed more than 50 facilities so far.
The 35 treatment centers offer 53 beds for potential Ebola patients. More than 80 percent of travelers returning to the United States from countries with Ebola are an ambulance ride away from a designated center - within 200 miles, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
More hospitals will be designated as treatment centers in the coming weeks, expanding to cover more areas of the country.
As of 2 p.m. Monday, health officials were monitoring 129 individuals in Pennsylvania. An additional 58 were being monitored in New Jersey as of noon Nov. 26.
Neither the Penn hospital nor Children's would answer questions about the size, cost, and location of its Ebola care facility.