Report of Ebola patient puts Memorial Hospital on high alert

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Memorial Hospital had its hazmat team on alert Friday to deal with what was reported to be an Ebola patient in Gulfport. The hospital presumes the lunchtime phone call was just a hoax.

The hospital has specially trained staff to handle situations like a patient who may need to be quarantined. In Friday's case, two staff members dressed out in hazmat gear, and were prepared to treat anybody who walked in and claimed to be an Ebola patient.

"We had hazmat suits on. We had everything ready, just in case," Memorial Hospital spokesperson Janet Stuart told WLOX News. "We used it as a drill."

Stuart said the call came sometime between noon and 12:30 p.m. As soon as the call came in, the hospital had security monitor all entrances, in case the patient entered a wing other than the emergency room.

Stuart said Memorial Hospital is on a heightened state of alert. Nurses are now asking each patient if they've been out of the country, or if they've been exposed to anybody who's been out of the country.

Stuart stressed Memorial Hospital was prepared for the medical emergency, and it will be again, if an Ebola patient ever comes to its ER.

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