Ebola Virus: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal responds

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BATON ROUGE, LA (AP/WAFB) - Governor Bobby Jindal blasted President Obama Thursday and said the federal government's response to the spread of the Ebola virus is incompetent and the administration has committed malpractice. Two weeks ago, Governor Jindal called on the Obama Administration to stop flights coming into the United States from Ebola-stricken countries.

Governor Jindal said, "President Obama came into office promising competent government, but his tenure has been anything but competent. The latest nightmare for Americans caused by the incompetence of the Obama Administration is its detached response to the Ebola crisis. The Obama Administration is committing malpractice."

In his statement, Jindal also said "This lack of preparedness is a pattern for President Obama. The President underestimated Ebola. He said it was 'unlikely' it would reach the United States. The President underestimated the Gulf oil spill. He relied on his 'experts' and let the oil advance.

"There's an old saying that battle plans don't survive contact with the enemy. I learned during the oil spill that this White House refuses to throw out their plans when circumstances change. Instead, the Obama Administration seems to be more focused on getting through the 24-hour news cycle than actually solving problems. That is the opposite of leadership and competence," he stated.

Jindal continued with saying each new day there is another press conference where the White House admits they should have done something differently. And that means each day there is a risk of more people being infected with Ebola.

"First the Obama Administration said it was unlikely that Ebola would reach the United States. Then it did," said Jindal. "Then the Obama Administration said it was unlikely that it would spread. Then it did. The American people want to trust the so-called experts in Washington, but the reality always turns out to be a complete 180 from the White House's talking points."

President Obama cancelled a second day of campaign travel to focus on the US response.

Expanding the no-fly list

Later Thursday afternoon, Jindal released another statement saying he called on the federal government to temporarily add certain groups of people - except first-responders, health care professionals, and relief workers - to the no-fly list and stop them from traveling to and from countries with Ebola.

Governor Jindal said, "I continue to believe that the best way to stop the spread of Ebola in the United States is for the Obama Administration to shut down flights coming into our country from Ebola-stricken countries. Even though it makes common sense to do this, the White House has refused to do it.

"The no-fly list should be temporarily expanded to include non-U.S. citizens in the United States or in West African countries who are not first-responders, health care professionals, or relief workers, and American citizens who want to travel to Ebola-stricken countries for pleasure," said Jindal.

"Under federal law, a state can petition the CDC to put individuals or a category of folks on a no fly list based on health and safety concerns. I think this clearly meets that criteria," said U.S. Senator David Vitter.

"Healthcare professionals currently in the United States who have been in contact with an Ebola patient should be added to the domestic and international no-fly list and not be allowed to get on an airplane," said Jindal.

"The federal government is reportedly considering adding healthcare workers who were in contact with an Ebola patient to the no-fly list. It's a no-brainer. They should do this and add other people to the no-fly list that may come into contact with the Ebola virus."

"With the exception of healthcare workers who came into contact with an Ebola patient, the no-fly list would not stop people from flying to other countries not afflicted by Ebola."

Any steps taken by the Obama administration to protect Americans from the Ebola virus are not likely to include a ban on travel to the United States from the countries in West Africa that have been hit hard by the disease. A spokesman says the travel ban isn't under consideration -- and that Obama believes the U.S. already is taking the necessary steps by screening those passengers as they leave West Africa and again when they enter the United States.

Are Louisiana Hospitals Prepared?

In a meeting Thursday morning held by the The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Dr. Jimmy Guidry with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals testified before the House Homeland Security Committee and told them they are getting ready, but they are not completely where they want to be because it's a changing situation.

"That is still an ongoing change- because we were saying before any hospital with an ICU could do this. However now we are saying we are not so sure because there was a hospital that had an ICU and nurses got sick," said Guidry.

Guidry says that all hospitals can probably handle isolating patients who may be exposed or have contracted the Ebola virus. He goes on to say that when those patients' conditions worsen, they will need a higher level of care.

Dr. Guidry says that if a full blown Ebola case happened in Louisiana, the patient would likely be moved out of state for complete treatment.

"I met with CEOs this week of hospitals and they all shared with me, their staff are worried that if they get a patient they couldn't take care of them until they get real infectious and get real, real sick without putting themselves at risk. So, the question becomes who is the most experienced and who can make sure that they take the least amount of risk?" said Guidry.

The Louisiana Hospital Association President and CEO, Paul A. Salles, says hospitals have worked together to establish a collaborative network to plan for, prepare for and respond to emergency situations of all kinds.

"Safety is our hospitals' top priority for both patients and healthcare workers," said Salles in a news release. "Facilities have established plans and procedures to safely care for patients with infectious diseases."

According to Salles, the LHA and hospitals across Louisiana are taking direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are are coordinating with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) within Louisiana.

"Because this is a rapidly changing public health situation, hospitals are being encouraged to conduct drills and trainings with key staff and healthcare providers to systematically implement the latest infection control procedures," said Salles. "In addition, regular conference calls are being hosted with hospitals and other preparedness stakeholders to ensure situational awareness and engagement."

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved. The Associated Press Contributed to this Report.