WASHINGTON, D.C.- President Barack Obama canceled a campaign trip at the last minute to stay in Washington and spearhead a more aggressive response to the Texas Ebola outbreak that has infected two nurses, one who traveled through Cleveland, and frightened Americans with the prospect that their health system is not equipped to handle a catastrophic medical event.
He said that monitoring of Ebola must be done in a "much more aggressive way." He continued, according to the pool report, to say that as soon as someone is diagnosed, the CDC must have a rapid response team immediately on site. The White House is taking this very seriously at the highest levels.
The president made the comments after a special meeting of his cabinet that was convened to address Ebola and came as one of the infected nurses was transported to special hospital facilities for care.
He said the CDC would deploy new SWAT teams within 24 hours to any hospital with an infected patient. He also promised that the federal government would review contacts made by infected people before they showed symptoms.
But he urged calm, repeating that Ebola is not easily spread if someone is not showing symptoms.
"Here's what we know about Ebola. It's not like the flu. It's not airborne," he said, adding that he had met, hugged and even kissed healthcare workers at Emory who had treated Ebola patients.
It was announced Wednesday morning that the second Dallas health care worker with Ebola, identified as Amber Vinson, was on a flight from Cleveland to Dallas on Monday — the day before she reported symptoms.
City of Cleveland authorities said she was not contagious when she was in Northeast Ohio.
However, in a letter from Frontier Airline CEO David Siegel to employees, it states Frontier was notified by the CDC that the passenger may have been symptomatic earlier than initially suspected; including the possibility of possessing symptoms while onboard the flight.
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