10/15/2014 11:57 EDT | Updated 12/15/2014 05:59 EST

Ebola: B.C. ready for virus, says public health officer Dr. Perry Kendall

B.C.'s top public health official is denying claims by nurses that the province is not prepared for an outbreak of Ebola.

Dr. Perry Kendall spoke to reporters after the B.C. Nurses' union wrote a letter to provincial health authorities accusing them of not being ready to handle cases of the deadly virus.

"Your health authority is not ready to respond to cases of Ebola," said the letter by the BCNU Council.

"On paper things may look good, however we have been canvassing our members on designated units, who advise on the ground that is simply not the case.

"For example, nurses have not been trained in care protocols for Ebola patients or advised and trained regarding the proper use of safety equipment.

"This is alarming given the recent news of a nurse who has become infected with the virus after caring for the first Ebola patient in North America."

Since the letter was written yesterday, a second health care worker in Dallas who cared for an infected patient has  tested positive for the disease.

It remains unclear how the second health care worker contracted the virus, and authorities declined to say what position she holds at the hospital or the type of care she provided.

Kendall says B.C.'s infection control guidelines are appropriate, but the infections in Texas are triggering efforts at B.C. hospitals to reassess infection control practices.
"Across the country we're going to be putting more efforts into making quite sure that the front line health care workers, who are the ones who will be seeing those patients, not necessarily the ones who won't, but the ones who will, are confident and competent.

"We know we will have those procedures in place so that when they do see a patient they will feel more confident than maybe they're feeling now."
Kendall says three people suspected of having the Ebola virus in B.C. have tested negative.