Health secretary: Hospital needed better oversight

AP News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2014 7:45 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Wednesday the federal government could have performed "much better oversight" of the Dallas hospital where two health care workers caught Ebola after treating the first U.S. patient with the disease.

Burwell said the government is taking more steps to help prevent the spread of infection at the hospital, including more intensive training for workers and a 24-hour site manager to oversee how equipment is being put on and taken off.

She sidestepped questions about whether she had complete confidence in Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and whether the two infected workers should be transferred to one of four specialized hospitals. "We will keep all options and considerations right now," she said.

Burwell said the protocols now in place "are steps we know have worked over the years."

Burwell's remarks Wednesday on NBC's "Today" echoed comments made Tuesday by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said Wednesday that a second health care worker at the Dallas hospital has tested positive for the disease.

Anthony Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday: "What happened there (in Dallas), regardless of the reason, is not acceptable. It shouldn't have happened."

Fauci told MSNBC he envisioned the CDC taking "a much more involved role" in establishing the proper training protocols for Ebola cases.