New funding announced for US Ebola preparedness

The Obama administration on Friday announced around $200 million in new funding to increase Ebola preparedness in the United States. 

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The Department of Health and Human Services is giving grants to states to help set up 10 regional Ebola treatment centers, as well as hospitals in every state that can safely care for an Ebola patient until he or she is transferred. Combined with other funds, the move brings the total for local Ebola preparedness to around $340 million. 

The first U.S. patient to have Ebola arrived in Dallas last year, and the U.S. response was at times shaky. Two nurses at the Dallas hospital caring for him contracted the disease. The patient died.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden acknowledged in October that the agency could have been faster in sending a response team to the Dallas hospital that saw the first U.S. case, and could have communicated better with Texas healthcare officials.

The nurses were eventually transferred to hospitals better equipped to treat Ebola, at Emory University in Atlanta at the National Institutes of Health outside Washington. 

"Important lessons were also learned during the response effort," HHS said in a statement Friday. "Safety of health care workers must be foremost in health care system preparedness and response activities."

The new funds will help make more hospitals better able to handle Ebola. 

President Obama last week touted the progress that his administration has made in fighting Ebola, both in the U.S. and in West Africa, where most of the U.S. troops sent to fight the disease are coming home. 

"We have risen to the challenge," Obama said. "And remember, there was no small amount of skepticism about our chances. People were understandably afraid, and if we're honest, some stoked those fears."