I suspect that the health care system in the US will start to become overwhelmed when the ebola count nationwide is still a 3 digit #. When the count is still a 4 digit # we will see tents in hospital parking lots for ebola patients so as to keep them out of the hospitals altogether, and similar setups in empty warehouses and such. Not much more than comfort care would be provided.
About 8 years ago when pandemic flu planning was in vogue, I was part of my small town’s emergency response group. I was still in MA at the time. I lived in the most rural county in the State and we had a single hospital. The State’s plan for a flu pandemic was that when the hospital was at capacity that they would use the high school in my town as a satellite hospital. I asked if they had beds and the myriad of other supplies set aside that would be needed to make that happen. They didn’t. The plan would be they’d buy it when they needed it and/or get what they needed from the National Strategic Stockpile. They had no response to the follow-up that that National Strategic Stockpile only has supplies enough for regional events, not a nationwide pandemic. Even worse, the medical personnel that were assumed to be doing all of this work were being counted 2 and 3 times by different groups that just assumed they’d have 1st dibs on them. It seemed that the primary thrust of the State’s plan was COG (Continuity of Govt). If for some reason Boston needed to be evacuated, the State plan was to send 50,000 people to my little town of 5,000. No supplies or anything else being sent with them. The lack of realism in their planning was beyond astounding. The citiots (if I can borrow Inshala’s phrase) think that abundance somehow awaits in rural areas. Coming back to ebola, we can assume that the same people who did pandemic flu planning are the same people doing ebola pandemic planning. Except ebola is even more deadly.