DENVER - Colorado's health department now says a patient who visited an Ebola-affected country tested negative for Ebola.
"The CDPHE laboratory completed the Elola test for the patient at Denver Health Medical Center tonight. Result of the test is negative for Ebola. Denver Health Medical Center will continue to have the patient hospitalized for further observation. This patient is being cared for in an isolated unit, by specially trained staff at the hospital," the state health department said in an email Monday evening.
In their original statement Monday morning, Denver Health said the patient would be tested for the virus. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokesman Mark Salley emphasized health officials were taking extreme caution, but originally said they determined the test was unnecessary.
Later, Salley said that decision was reversed again.
"The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment consulted with CDC, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver Public Health, Denver Environmental Health and the Jefferson County Health Department this afternoon and determined that although the patient’s condition has not deteriorated, in the absence of another diagnosis, a specimen will be tested at the state lab overnight," Salley wrote.
The test results came back early Monday evening.
The male patient was transported with a fever from the city of Arvada to Denver Health, confirmed Jefferson County Public Health spokeswoman Nancy Braden.
The patient is being monitored in the hospital's designated inpatient care unit, officials said.
"This unit is isolated from other areas of the hospital and the patient is being cared for by specially trained staff," according to Denver Health.
“We are taking all the necessary precautions to protect both our patients and staff, even though the infection with the virus is not confirmed,” Dr. Connie Price, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Denver Health said in an earlier statement. “We have staff trained specifically to assist with patients who may have contracted the Ebola virus."
The ambulance that transported the patient was removed from service until the patient's Ebola test results came in, officials said.
-- Denver Health ready --
Denver Health Medical Center said back in September that it was ready for this situation.
Denver Health has designated rooms for evaluation of a suspected patient as well as a designated containment room where the patient would stay if they require hospitalization, officials said.
"Ebola planning is easier than planning for an influenza outbreak," said Dr. Price. "Because it's usually that individual return traveler with a fever, and it's a single person."
Price said medical experts have to be astute in order to identify such an individual, but would likely have to just manage one patient at a time.
When asked about Denver Health's protocol, Price said the plan is to "limit traffic through the system."
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