Local tension eased after the Liberian woman staying with a Portland host family was released from hospital quarantine last week – healthy and Ebola free.
The woman, who remains unidentified, arrived in Portland late last month. After suffering from an intense fever on October 31, the woman was rushed to Providence Milwaukie Hospital.
It is now believed that the woman suffered from a bout of malaria, which is not uncommon in Liberia. Much improved, the woman was able to return to her Portland host family last week.
“We’ve been hugging and dancing and praising the Lord,” said a woman in the host family who requested anonymity. “She was so happy, too. She got her first hug at the hospital.”
The woman will continue to report to the county for the remainder of a three-week self-monitoring period. Her Portland host family also remains in voluntary quarantine.
A Portland pastor, the husband of the host family told The Oregonian that the quarantine was hard for his children, who wanted to go trick-or-treating.
“They know the situation,” the man said. “They were disappointed. But we explained it. We don’t want them to be stigmatized.”
Including the Liberian woman, five people in Oregon remain in the 21-day monitoring period. Most are in the Portland area, while one is located in southern Oregon.
Nurse Jessica Tegner oversaw precautionary protocol at Providence Milwaukie Hospital during the Liberian woman’s stay. Like all the medical personnel who cared for the woman, Tegner volunteered for the opportunity.
Also a federally certified decontamination trainer, Tegner said she never worried during the patient’s hospitalization. “I know our processes are checked and double checked,” she said.
Providence trained approximately 550 staff to deal with cases of Ebola, although this was the first situation in which precautionary procedures proved a necessity.
According to state health officer Katrina Hedberg, Ebola preparedness remains crucial for the state, as people continue to travel to and from infected West African regions. Hedberg said specific precautions are determined on a case by case basis.
Returning health workers, for example, warrant greater precautions. Those returning to Oregon who had unprotected exposure to the virus will be quarantined.
Curious about the exact protocol Oregon caregivers use when dealing with possible Ebola patients? Check out the thorough procedures here.