NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) has been designated by the Office of the Governor as a potential facility to treat patients with Ebola.
The move came as part of an executive order creating the Ebola Virus Disease Joint Response Team (EVD-JR), signed by Governor Christie at an October 22 press conference in Hackensack University Medical Center, one of three hospitals in total to receive the designation.
The order also named University Hospital in Newark as the third hospital to be outfitted with similar accomodations and capabilities.
The hospitals will be “second-tier” Ebola treatment facilities. The federal government has already announced four “first-tier” facilities to handle Ebola cases nationwide.
Known as bio-containment units, the closest one to New Jersey is in Fort Detrick, Maryland. The other three are at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, and St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula, Montana.
On October 17, New Jersey hospitals had their emergency departments complete drills in the area of identifying and isolating suspected Ebola patients. The tests included false alarms, in which individuals would come in to the hospital displaying symptoms of Ebola, or a travel history to Ebola-striken areas.
Of the several dozen hospitals within the state, these three were selected. These three hospitals will receive support from Technical Assistance Teams from the NJ Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
During the false alarm drills, the New Jersey State Nurses Association had advocated that patients suspected of having Ebola should not be treated in New Jersey, and instead at one of these four sites.
On October 16, Newark Airport was among five in the country designated by the U.S Customs and Border Patrol to provide advanced screening for Ebola and Ebola symptoms. All planes traveling to the United States from West Africa would be required to land at one of these five airports.
The Executive Order also calls for other measures to be taken, such as housing arrangements for New Jersey non-residents who had been identified as at-risk, as well as ensuring NJ Transit personnel are equipped for emergency response.