Montreal-area ambulance workers not ready to deal with Ebola
Paramedics want better equipment to protect themselves from possible exposure to the virus
Ambulance workers in Montreal and Laval say they're worried they don't have the proper equipment to protect themselves against possible exposure to the Ebola virus.
The union representing the 950 paramedics said although there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in Canada, they need to have the tools to protect themselves in case the virus does make its way here.
“I’m not convinced the equipment the workers have is enough to protect them from the Ebola virus,” said Réjean Leclerc, president of the Urgences-Santé union.
Public health officials have established a protocol for dealing with suspected cases of ebola.
Quebec's health ministry has designated two Montreal hospitals — Notre-Dame and Sainte-Justine — to deal with patients showing potential signs of Ebola.
The ministry also said all ambulance workers must wear goggles, masks, and medical gowns.
Leclerc said that equipment won't stop bodily fluids from seeping through if paramedics come in close contact with patients while transporting them.
Colin Chapman, a McGill University professor who studied the Ebola virus, said workers should have full protective gear that prevents any contact with blood or vomit.
“They should have access to some suits in some locations. So they have a right to be worried. It's unlikely this will come to Canada, but we should be prepared for the unlikely,” Chapman said.
Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barette said the province has taken precautions and is ready for a possible outbreak.
“If something happens we will be ready, and we are as we speak, but again the risk is extremely minimal.”