SOURCE: Canadian Red Cross

Canadian Red Cross

December 30, 2014 22:18 ET

Canadian Red Cross Stands Behind Ebola Workers

OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - December 30, 2014) - The Canadian Red Cross confirms that one of its healthcare workers who recently returned from working in Ebola-affected Sierra Leone is currently in isolation at Kelowna General Hospital in British Columbia. She has not tested positive for Ebola. She has cold symptoms and experienced a slight rise in temperature on Mon. Dec. 29, which is one of the symptoms that can be associated with Ebola.

With her consent, the Canadian Red Cross confirms that the delegate is Patrice Gordon, a Family Nurse Practitioner in B.C. She is trained as an Emergency Response Unit delegate with the Canadian Red Cross and deployed to Sierra Leone on Nov. 21, returning to Canada on Christmas Day.

Ms. Gordon has issued the following statement:

"While I'm feeling like I just have cold symptoms, I completely understand and respect the meticulous attention to Ebola management protocols considering my recent work in Sierra Leone. My biggest concern is that the publicity given to my situation here in BC right now might deflect some of the attention from the real issue which is the plight of the people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. I want to reassure my family and the public that I have absolute confidence that I'm receiving the best of care in a fashion that fully protects the public, and I want to encourage everyone to keep the focus where it belongs -- back in West Africa." 

Ms. Gordon is one of 24 Canadian Red Cross aid workers who have travelled to Ebola affected countries to help provide urgently-needed relief and care to those affected by this virus. The Canadian aid workers have joined more than 200 Red Cross international aid workers from around the world, along with more than 10,000 local volunteers in Ebola affected countries, who continue to work around the clock to stop Ebola at its source and provide care to those in need.

"During her mission, Ms. Gordon worked at the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kenema where she provided life-saving support and care to those affected by Ebola," said Stephane Michaud, senior manager, international operations emergency and recovery, Canadian Red Cross. "Thanks to the tremendous efforts of aid workers such as Ms. Gordon, the Red Cross has been able to make a real difference in Kenema, where there has been a decline in infections. However, we must remain vigilant as the number of cases across the country remains high."

In keeping with Red Cross protocol, all delegates wear personal protective equipment while working inside the treatment centre and providing care to patients. Red Cross procedures and protocols are designed to prevent contracting the disease, including training focused on safety and mitigation in general, but also specific to Ebola -- such as the correct use of personal protective equipment where required. Protocols are in place should a delegate have a breech in personal protective equipment. Ms. Gordon reports that she did not have any known unprotected exposure to the Ebola virus.

Following usual protocols for aid workers returning to Canada from Ebola missions, Ms. Gordon was monitoring her temperature twice daily and reported the results to public health officials every day. When she had a slightly raised temperature, she followed protocols to let public health officials know.

On Monday, as directed by public health authorities, and to be abundantly cautious, Ms. Gordon went to the hospital herself to the hospital in Kelowna where staff were prepared for her arrival and waiting to bring her into the isolation unit as a precaution. She did not move through any public areas in the hospital.

"At this time, she is taking the time to rest and focus on her health. While being in isolation at the hospital is not an ideal situation, she said that she appreciates and respects the protocols in place and is impressed with how smooth the response has been," said Michaud. "Her concern right now is that attention on her will detract from what is happening in Sierra Leone and other Ebola-affected countries in West Africa. We are thankful for the dedication and commitment of all Ebola fighters and call on Canadians to support them and the very important work they are doing."

The Canadian Red Cross continues its work in recruiting and supporting the deployment of aid workers to support Ebola affected communities.

Incidents of Ebola are declining in the Kenema region where the Red Cross treatment centre is located. The Canadian Red Cross is supporting plans to open a second Red Cross treatment centre further inland in Sierra Leone in a region where the number of Ebola cases continues to increase. For that reason, the Canadian Red Cross continues to actively recruit doctors, nurses and support staff to deploy to West Africa in the coming weeks and months. Additional information is available online at redcross.ca.

Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:
    Karen Leiva
    senior media manager
    Canadian Red Cross
    416-518-2844