By Justin Sink - 10/24/14 07:32 AM EDT
President Obama offered New York’s top elected officials any support necessary from the federal government after a doctor who treated Ebola in Guinea tested positive for the deadly virus.
In a pair of late-night phone calls to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), the president said the U.S. government would do everything it could to help local officials “provide the highest standard of patient care, maintain the strictest safety protocols for healthcare workers, and to identify and, as necessary, monitor any contacts of the patient potentially at risk of exposure."
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were already on the ground Thursday evening, with an additional response team expected to arrive overnight.
The president has championed CDC “SWAT teams” as an integral part of the elevated federal response.
"As soon as somebody is diagnosed with Ebola, we want a Rapid Response Team — a SWAT team, essentially — from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible — hopefully within 24 hours," Obama said earlier this month.
The president also encouraged the governor and mayor to remain in close contact with top federal officials, including Ron Klain, the Ebola czar. Klain stepped into his job on Wednesday.
In a separate statement, the CDC said officials had already determined that Bellevue Hospital, where the doctor is being treated, was well prepared to treat Ebola patients.
In a press conference Friday night, de Blasio and Cuomo encouraged New Yorkers not to be alarmed.
"From a public health point of view, I feel confident that we’re doing everything that we should be doing, and we have the situation under control," Cuomo said.
Ebola has killed at least 4,877 people, primarily in West Africa, the World Health Organization said earlier this week.