“We have got to make sure those workers who are willing and able and dedicated to go over there in a really tough job, that they’re applauded, thanked and supported,” Obama said. “That should be our priority, and we can make sure when they come back they’re being monitored in a prudent fashion.”
Obama endorsed recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday that called for health monitoring of travelers to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, with a voluntary quarantine for those considered to be at high risk for infection.
The guidelines are less stringent than policies set forth by a number of states over the past several days, some of which call for mandatory quarantine of all travelers form the region regardless of their personal level of exposure to those infected with the virus.
New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Georgia have announced plans to impose quarantines on healthcare workers retuning from West Africa.
“We don’t want to discourage our healthcare workers from going to the front lines in dealing with this in an effective way,” Obama said.
CDC guidelines are based on four categories of exposure risk. Those at highest risk would be asked to remain at home for the monitoring period of 21 days. Those considered at “some risk” for infection, which would include healthcare workers who did not have any malfunction of personal protective equipment while treating patients, would be kept from public places, public transportation and office areas.
As challenging as this may be, “this is something that will get fixed,” Obama said of the outbreak. “In large part because we’ve got extraordinary Americans with experience, talent and dedication who are willing to put themselves on the front lines to get things done.”
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