Mountainbiker, that threshold in our “world class health system” is much slimmer than you think. The hospital I work at does not have the capacity to care for ebola patients period. We do not have proper containment and waste disposal to make certain we do not spread the disease, nor do we have any meaningful supply of PPE capable of handling anything this contagious. Me and my coworkers would be the first victims followed by anyone we care for after patient zero. Maybe the big city hospitals have better containment, but even they wouldn’t be able to handle more than a handful of people at a time. Needless to say, but having to tiptoe around ebola while still dealing with all the normal heart attacks and strokes that we get would increase the mortality rate for everyone. The capabilities of the healthcare system would quickly be surpassed by an influx of fear and paranoia coupled with a “me first” attitude if the public caught the slightest hint that ebola was in the hood and spreading.
Then add in staff staying at home to quarantine with loved ones and you get a big empty building with a lot of sick people in it and a lot of angry people outside of it, all demanding care and an extra pillow.
By the way peeps, the question “Have you been outside the US in the past six months?” was added to our ED triage form set two weeks ago.