U.S. hospitals stock up on Ebola prevention supplies

Ebola Outbreak

Craig Spencer, the last Ebola patient in the U.S., was released from a New York hospital on Tuesday free of the virus. Meanwhile, hospitals and medical supply companies around the country are still stepping up efforts to deal with the virus. CCTV America’s Roza Kazan reported this story from Chicago.

Business is booming at a Medline health care supplies plant in Illinois as hospitals brace for potential Ebola cases. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthcare workers use Personal Protective Equipment or PPE while dealing with suspected or confirmed Ebola patients.

The specialized kit designed with Ebola in mind also includes a face shield, a respirator, two pairs of gloves, a bonnet, and a hand sanitizer.

Medline had this production line up and running within one week of the lethal Ebola case in Dallas, in response, they said, to a flood of customer inquiries.

Since the first Ebola case was discovered in the United States inquiries per day grew to over 200 on PPE, said Stephanie Nelson a vice president at Medline. Typically they receive 30 inquiries a day.

University of Chicago Medicine is one of four hospitals in Chicago designated to treat potential Ebola patients. They’ve had to order more shrouds and face shields and test the equipment they already had.

“We took gowns and we laid them over the garbage can and poured liquid on them and waited 15 min to see if it actually soaked through,” said Sylvia Garcia-Houchins, an infection control manager at the University of Chicago Medicine.

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New York protective suit maker sees growth following Ebola outbreak

Since the start of the Ebola outbreak, one New York company has seen a huge increase in both interest and sales. Lakeland Industries manufactures the protective suits worn by many of the health care workers in West Africa and at hospitals in the U.S. From humble beginnings, more than 30 years ago, the company now has annual sales exceeding $100 million. CCTV America’s Nick Harper reported this story in New York.

Twenty-five million suits are made every year at Lakeland Industries’ two Chinese factories. The company makes all types of protective suits, but it’s the Ebola-wear that generated so much demand in recent months.

“We’re sold out to June, essentially. We are in the position where, basically, everybody called us, including the major governments of the world, asking us to make hundreds of thousands of suits. So we’re really booked out. We’ve almost tripled our capacity,” said Christopher Ryan, the company’s CEO. “It can hold up under a fire hose and keep all liquids out.”

Ebola is also pushing the Chinese market to be prepared.

“They went through SARS. They suffered terribly economically, because people were afraid to go there, so they’re really preparing. They see another epidemic like this. They said ‘we’re really going to be prepared this time’,” Ryan said.

A healthcare worker wearing the suits would have extra coverings on their feet, hands, and face. Most importantly, all of the seam lines are covered in tape because even the smallest pinprick can let through more than 12,000 Ebola viral particles.