AUSTIN – Dan Patrick, Texas State Senator and Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor, concerned about the public health threat caused by the Ebola virus in Texas, issued the following statement:
“It’s no surprise the first case of the Ebola virus to present itself in the United States was in Texas. We are this nation’s leading economy and a hub for international travel. This otherwise enviable position in the global economy comes with unwanted risks.
“It’s also no surprise that Washington has failed us once again; failure to properly screen all travelers at ports of entry, and a failure to provide meaningful support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I join with other others in their call to restrict commercial air travel to areas of the world where outbreaks of infectious diseases can spread and threaten Americans here at home. I urge our national leaders to make this an immediate priority. This is a threat to public health and national security that cannot be addressed with half-measures.
“We must not allow Washington’s failures to continue to jeopardize the health and safety of Texans. Texas must continue to lead, and take steps to stop the spread of Ebola and other infectious diseases.
“Texas will provide it’s own solution to this public health threat.
“Texas is home to one of the nation’s leading facilities to study infectious diseases, the Galveston National Laboratory at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, a Biosafety Level 4 designated facility –the highest designation for safety and security. Since 2008 this world class facility not only has had resources to study and contain health threats like Ebola, but they also are actively involved in training health care professionals on how to safely operate in an environment where infectious threats exist. This is the only facility of its kind located on an academic campus.
“The Governor’s Task Force, an impressive group of the very best minds to study and make recommendations, is prepared to issue reports in December and again near the beginning of the Legislative Session in February.
“Rest assured, the Texas Senate will be prepared to act swiftly to address these issues when we convene. I have been updated by Dr. Kyle Janek, Commissioner of Health and Human Services, and collaborate with the two medical doctors elected to the Texas Senate, Drs. Schwertner and Campbell, to meet the health and safety needs of Texans.
“Texas must be better prepared with facilities to properly treat and care for those who have become infected. We must have health care professionals who have the necessary equipment and training to contain any future outbreak of Ebola or any other infectious disease.
“Texas can and must develop our own protocols and procedures to address future cases of Ebola. We need to develop better communications channels, pathways for collaboration, and a chain of command to address serious public health threats.
“Any solution must meet the unique needs of all Texans, rural, suburban, and urban.
“Texas is better equipped than anyplace else in America to address these threats. We are home to many of the world’s finest medical minds. We already host significant centers of excellence in medicine.
“I will not allow failures of the federal government to threaten the public health of Texans. We will act in Texas to defend our citizens from the threat of infectious diseases.”