Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2023 Apr;44(4):643-650. doi: 10.1017/ice.2022.43. Epub 2022 Feb 22.
OBJECTIVE: In response to the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designated 56 US hospitals as Ebola treatment centers (ETCs) with high-level isolation capabilities. We sought to determine the ongoing sustainability of ETCs and to identify how ETC capabilities have affected hospital, local, and regional coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) readiness and response.
DESIGN: An electronic survey included both qualitative and quantitative questions and was structured into 2 sections: operational sustainability and role in the COVID-19 response.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: The survey was distributed to site representatives from the 56 originally designated ETCs, and 37 (66%) responded.
METHODS: Data were coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics.
RESULTS: Of the 37 responding ETCs, 33 (89%) reported that they were still operating, and 4 had decommissioned. ETCs that maintain high-level isolation capabilities incurred a mean of $234,367 in expenses per year. All but 1 ETC reported that existing capabilities (eg, trained staff, infrastructure) before COVID-19 positively affected their hospital, local, and regional COVID-19 readiness and response (eg, ETC trained staff, donated supplies, and shared developed protocols).
CONCLUSIONS: Existing high-level isolation capabilities and expertise developed following the 2014-2016 EVD epidemic were leveraged by ETCs to assist hospital-wide readiness for COVID-19 and to support responses by other local and regional hospitals However, ETCs face continued challenges in sustaining those capabilities for high-consequence infectious diseases.