Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2022 Feb 22:1-33. doi: 10.1017/ice.2022.43. Online ahead of print.
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 aimed to determine ongoing sustainability of ETCs and identify how ETC capabilities have impacted hospital, local, and regional COVID-19 readiness and response.
DESIGN: An electronic survey included both qualitative and quantitative questions and was structured into two 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; 37 (66%) responded.
METHODS: Data were coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics.
RESULTS: Of the 37 responding ETCs, 33 (89%) reported they were still operating while 4 had decommissioned. ETCs that maintain high-level isolation capabilities incurred a mean of $234,367 in expenses per year. All but one ETC reported that existing capabilities (e.g., trained staff, infrastructure) before COVID-19 positively affected their hospital, local, and regional COVID-19 readiness and response (e.g., ETCs 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 support response for other local and regional hospitals However, ETCs face continued challenges in sustaining those capabilities for high-consequence infectious diseases.