City, state say Chicago is prepared for Ebola cases

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a meeting to see if the city of Chicago is ready for the Ebola virus.

It was held at 11 a.m. Friday at City Hall.

"I want to use this time now to make sure that all the ways of evaluating ourselves while working with our federal partners; what happened in Dallas?  What happened in Spain? Is there any take away, any lessons to be learned? Because I want to make sure we have a plan in place," says Mayor Emanuel.

The Center for Disease Control is reportedly considering one city hospital as the designated treatment center if any cases appear in Chicago.

Several hospitals are being considered, including Rush University Medical Center.

"I'm confident that in the city of Chicago, we would be able to identify a patient with Ebola early. We'd be able to isolate that patient, we'd be able to protect our healthcare workers so they don't get exposed to the virus, and that there isn't a widespread transmission in the city," says  julie morita  of Chicago's Department of Public Health.

At Rush Hospital yesterday, nearly 300 workers were given special training.

Training included learning how to put on and take off the extra layers they'll have to wear.

Though Rush Hospital hasn't officially been named the Ebola treatment center in the city, health officials say the city is prepared to tackle the Ebola virus for year-round and are using this time to step up their preparations.

"Systems are already in place for a coordinated approach all year long. This is just simply an opportunity for us to step up that preparedness," Says Commissioner Bechara Choucair of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Illinois will soon be one of only a dozen states with a laboratory certification to test blood for Ebola... meaning quicker results.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has set up an Ebola hotline and a task force to make sure healthcare workers are properly trained.

Residents with questions and concerns can call the hotline at 800-889-3931, or go to www.ebola.illinois.gov

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