Here's an interesting development: The state of California has mandated new regulations about ebola training and PPE gear for hospitals.
It requires full body protective suits that leave no skin exposed or unprotected. It also requires respirators. It is mandatory for hospitals along with training.
This is quite an accomplishment for the California nurses union. Last week 18,000 nurses in California were on strike around contract negotiations as well as what they said were inadequate equipment to care for potential ebola patients.
Actually the respirator part of this makes a lot of sense. It actually could prevent HCWs from getting ebola. If you don't have to wear a mask but instead have a respirator, it will be a lot more comfortable. You will be able to spend a lot more time in the suit. This would mean less nurses rotating into the room and having to don and doff the equipment. With the current equipment, wearing the mask and all the other stuff, I don't see how you could do this for more than an hour or two, requiring multiple donning and doffing in a shift and more potential for contamination.
What people don't realize is that the four hospitals with biocontainment units in the US use this equipment to care for any patients they have. Supposedly these people are experts in this area. So why the disparity between what they wear and what an average nurse in the US is supposed to wear?
I can guarantee you that most hospitals will not adopt this. Too expensive. They will play the odds that they will never get an ebola patient.
One other thing California has included in the regulation is a whisteblower section. It guarantees that health care workers won't lose their jobs if they report non compliance. Employers are VERY sensitive about their preparations for ebola. I have found that if you bring up any kind of concern about their preparation, they immediately jump on it and go to lengths to explain why you are wrong.