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Czar, meetings could ease tensions over Ebola

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Theories, rumors and paranoia are all symptoms of a nationwide focus on Ebola that could be on the way to being turned around.

High Point University professor Tjai Nielsen believes the appointment of Ron Klain as the Ebola Czar is a positive sign in for showing a coordinated effort toward addressing fears and concerns from the public.

“The key challenge with Ebola in the U.S. is managing the confusion the anxiety and even the fear that people are experiencing,” said Nielsen.

“The next steps really need to be about answering the questions that people have,” said Nielsen.

Questions even arise in places where people turn for medical help. At Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro leaders have begun holding town hall and smaller group meetings meant to answer questions surrounding how prepared the hospital is to treat patients and keep the disease from spreading to health care workers.

“The chances of seeing someone here in the Triad with Ebola is very, very low but we still have to be prepared,” said Cynthia Snider, an infectious disease specialist with Cone Health.

Snider said they’re sharing information about adapting to the latest Centers for Diseases Control guidelines, which include using full body protective suits, double gloves and an outer gown to minimize the risk of contracting the disease should a patient be suspected of having Ebola.

“We’re also doing exercises on removing safety equipment properly without employees contaminating themselves,” said Snider.

Snider said the meetings had been planned for a while but were accelerated this week with news that several health care workers from Dallas had contracted the illness after caring for a patient who later died.

The meetings have been well attended and filled with a wide range of questions including how medical waste from patients would be disposed of.