MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The University of Minnesota Medical Center has been named a regional treatment center for patients with Ebola and other highly infectious diseases, the state Department of Health announced Friday.

The Health Department says it has received a five-year, $3.25 million federal grant to work with the university to establish the Ebola treatment center. Among other things, the money will be used to modify the hospital’s containment unit so it can treat two Ebola patients at one time, and eventually expand to treat four patients at once.

The state Health Department said the university’s medical center is one of nine regional centers announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The University of Minnesota Medical Center will accept patients from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana if local facilities can’t provide sufficient care. The regional centers can also accept patients from other regions and people medically evacuated from overseas.

“We’re very excited to have this partnership with our federal partners and the University of Minnesota Medical Center,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger. “It demonstrates our commitment to excellence in health care and public health and our level of preparedness to treat people in our region for Ebola and any other highly infectious diseases.”

Every state will continue to have local hospitals prepared to treat Ebola patients. Three other hospitals in Minnesota are still designated as Ebola treatment centers in the state.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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