WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell joined others Wednesday in voicing her thoughts on the level of initial support that the federal government should have given the Dallas hospital currently treating two health care workers who caught Ebola after serving the first U.S. patient with the disease.
Burwell said "more oversight [was] needed" by Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital when it first started caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died in the hospital last week after coming to the U.S. before he exhibited symptoms of the disease. Since Duncan's death, two nurses who cared for him tested positive for the virus.
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. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden also announced Tuesday that it was establishing a team of its employees to send out to hospitals that see confirmed Ebola cases.
President Barack Obama, with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, meets with members of his public health and national security team about the response to the diagnosis of a second Ebola case in Dallas, Texas, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Burwell 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."
Watch Burwell talk about the situation on NBC's "Today":
The Texas Department of State Health Services said Wednesday that a second health care worker at the Dallas hospital tested positive for the disease, something Anthony Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday should not have happened.
"What happened there [in Dallas], regardless of the reason, is not acceptable. It shouldn't have happened," Fauci said.
Fauci told MSNBC he envisioned the CDC taking "a much more involved role" in establishing the proper training protocols for Ebola cases.