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MIKE TURNER: Mr. Chairman, I greatly appreciate that. I'm under a time constraint, having to return back to my district, and I greatly appreciate the Chairman doing that. On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to talk with Secretary Hagel about the Ebola mission and I believe he takes this very seriously. He's very concerned, both about the effect on our men and women in uniform, and also about protecting the American public.
I am very concerned about the protocols of protecting the American public. And since I only get one question, my question is going to be about that. Although, I am too very concerned as I think all of the American public is about the protection of our men and women in uniform.
I'm very skeptical of the DoD protocols and I think the American public is very skeptical. We have basically two threats, one of Ebola coming here or two individuals that have been exposed to Ebola, falling ill to Ebola. We've had four cases, two of came here, and two are the result of people being exposed to Ebola here and then falling ill.
Three were healthcare providers. The American public is very concerned that individuals who have been exposed to the Ebola virus have had significant public access after being exposed. This is during the period while they were falling ill to Ebola.
Now on October 10th, Ebola came to visit Ohio. Amber Vinson traveled from Dallas, Texas to Cleveland. While she was in Cleveland, she visited local businesses and of course she flew on a flight there. Almost 300 people had contact with her while she was falling ill to Ebola. Fortunately, Ohio doesn't have a report, at this time, of a case of Ebola.
But on October 20th, the entire Ohio congressional delegation, on a bipartisan basis, sent a letter to the CDC challenging their protocols, with respect to people who have been known to have been exposed to Ebola.
Now we all know the stories: trying on wedding dresses, flying, going on a cruise, bowling, riding on the subway. Although some of these issues are personal responsibility, they do go to the issue of protocols. If you look at the October 10th Department of Defense guidelines, in paragraph number four, it says that a commander has authority which means they may—they don’t have to—quarantine someone up to ten days if they are concerned about an individual who's been exposed.
Now we all know the doctor in New York fell ill apparently after eleven days. Then it goes on to say no known exposure—that doesn't mean they weren’t exposed, it means there is no known exposure. That then there is a 21 day monitoring period, but it suggests that the individuals return to routine daily activities. Well, those routine daily activities would include going on cruises, flying, wearing wedding dresses, bowling and riding on the subway.
So I think I’m very concerned—as the American public is—as the multiplier effect of the contacts that could occur in the public. And as we are learning in light of what has happened, I believe that both the CDC's rules and perhaps the DoD guidance should be revised.
In light of what we now know and are seeing in the concerns of the multiplier effect, again of the three healthcare providers that had significant public contact, while falling ill to the Ebola virus, do you believe that this October 10th DoD guidance should be revised and Mr. Lumpkin, I would like your answer, too.
MICHAEL LUMPKIN: I think the first thing I would like to say, as I mentioned in my opening statement, that we at the DoD in West Africa are not doing direct patient care. So our operations in support of USAID are focused on those lines of effort of the command and control, the logistics –
MIKE TURNER: But that Mr. Lumpkin, that doesn't mean that no one is going to be exposed to the virus. I understand what you're saying about the distinction between health care providers and non- healthcare providers, but the gentleman that flew here first, patient number one, in the United States was not a healthcare provider either.
MICAHEL LUMPKIN: Very true, but because—But I want to make sure you understand—we have different categories of risk and I would like to turn it over to my Joint Staff colleague here to explain the risk categories and the mitigation strategies with each one of them.
MAJOR GENERAL LARIVIERE: Mr. Turner, thank you for the question. The protocols we've put in place we think excede the CDC's standards, as you mentioned. We will be testing personnel twice a day while they are deployed, take their temperature and to ensure that if they were exposed and did become infected, we could isolate them effectively. The zero to ten-day timeline that you discussed is the timeline that will take place in country and commanders will have the authority to remove that personal –
MIKE TURNER: But General as we already know from the doctor in New York he indicated, if the news reports are correct, that his symptoms occurred at 11 days, so isn’t your ten days too short?
MAJOR GENERAL LARIVIERE: Well the ten days were in country, the 21 days can't start until they are actually out of the affected areas. So the 21 day monitoring period will take place –
MIKE TURNER: Which means they could be traveling on day 11 and no longer isolated.
MAJOR GENERAL LARIVIERE: They could be traveling on day 11.
MIKE TURNER: Which would result in an additional exposure.
MAJOR GENERAL LARIVIERE: No sir, we will try to limit their exposure prior to their departure but the one 21 day timeline won't start until they're back in the United States.
MIKE TURNER: Well my time is up. But I want to indicate, I am highly skeptical and the public is worried. I believe these need to be revised. The Ohio Delegation sent to CDC they believe there’s need to be revised. The American public is concerned people that are exposed are having too much contact with the American public and raising the risk to the United States citizens. Thank you Mr. Chairman.