Health officials said the revised guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week are more stringent and will help prevent further spread of the Ebola virus, according to CBS News.
The updated hospital guidelines for healthcare workers treating Ebola patients will be "much more stringent" and prohibit any exposed skin, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of the National Institutes of Health), told CBS.
The new guidelines are tighter than the CDC's initial guidelines, which were based on the protocol that healthcare workers in West Africa follow and allow some portions of skin to be exposed, Fauci said.
Meanwhile, Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan published an open letter in both the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram apologizing for mistakes by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in the case of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with the virus in the United States. Berdan credited the hospital staff's "dedication, compassion and tireless work" but acknowledged errors such as failing to make clear that Duncan had been to an affected African country and initially sending him home with antibiotics when he first visited the emergency room.
"In short, despite our best intentions and skilled medical teams, we did not live up to the high standards that are the heart of our hospital's history, mission and commitment," he wrote.
Meanwhile, hospitals are bracing for added panic over Ebola during flu season, such as a woman afraid she had developed the virus even though she visited South Africa, which is unaffected by the outbreak, according to Reuters. Hospitals throughout the country report dozens of baseless scares, according to the article, and the superficial similarities between symptoms of the flu and Ebola are likely to exacerbate the hysteria. However, health officials would rather patients play it safe and seek care if they have concerns, WSMV reported.
The Pentagon announced it will train a 30-person response team to give hospitals extra assistance in case of a more serious outbreak, according to the Wall Street Journal. The team will include 20 critical care nurses, five doctors who are infections disease specialists and five additional trainers, the WSJ reported.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Hospital Association will prepare up to 10 hospitals to treat Ebola patients if necessary, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Currently, only four hospitals in the country have the bio-containment facilities necessary to treat the deadly virus, which has led to the deaths of more than 4,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.