The Utility and Sustainability of US Ebola Treatment Centers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jocelyn J. Herstein, Paul D. Biddinger, Shawn G. Gibbs, Angela L. Hewlett, Aurora B. Le, Michelle M. Schwedhelm, John-Martin J Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: In response to the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designated 56 US hospitals as Ebola treatment centers (ETCs) with high-level isolation capabilities. We aimed to determine ongoing sustainability of ETCs and identify how ETC capabilities have impacted hospital, local, and regional COVID-19 readiness and response. Design: An electronic survey included both qualitative and quantitative questions and was structured into two sections: operational sustainability and role in the COVID-19 response. Setting and Participants: The survey was distributed to site representatives from the 56 originally designated ETCs; 37 (66%) responded. Methods: Data were coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: Of the 37 responding ETCs, 33 (89%) reported they were still operating while 4 had decommissioned. ETCs that maintain high-level isolation capabilities incurred a mean of $234,367 in expenses per year. All but one ETC reported that existing capabilities (e.g., trained staff, infrastructure) before COVID-19 positively affected their hospital, local, and regional COVID-19 readiness and response (e.g., ETCs trained staff, donated supplies, and shared developed protocols). Conclusions: Existing high-level isolation capabilities and expertise developed following the 2014-2016 EVD epidemic were leveraged by ETCs to assist hospital-wide readiness for COVID-19 and support response for other local and regional hospitals However, ETCs face continued challenges in sustaining those capabilities for high-consequence infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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