US Has Capacity for 11 Ebola Patients at Specialized Hospitals

Is America running out of specialized beds for Ebola patients?

ByABC News
October 16, 2014, 4:47 PM

— -- Though there is no plan yet to move all Ebola patients to specialized biocontainment facilities, only seven spots at these facilities remain open in the United States.

Health officials have said again and again that any hospital should be able to treat Ebola patients, but the two nurses diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas over the last few days have been moved from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital -- where they contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan -- to specialized hospitals with biocontainment units.

There are four hospitals with biocontainment facilities in the United States, and they have 11 beds that can be used at any one time for Ebola patients, officials told ABC News. Four of those beds are currently being occupied by Ebola patients.

Dallas nurse Nina Pham, 26, was diagnosed with Ebola on Sunday and is expected to be moved to the Special Clinical Studies Unit of the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. This facility has two specialized beds, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told Congress this afternoon.

Amber Vinson, 29, the other Dallas nurse to contract Ebola from Duncan, was diagnosed with Ebola on Wednesday and moved to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, later that night. Emory has three beds in its biocontainment unit.

Freelance Cameraman Ashoka Mukpo is currently being treated at Nebraska Medical Center, which has 10 specialized beds. But hospital officials told ABC News that it has the capacity to handle only up to three patients at a time.

The final hospital with a specialized biocontainment unit is St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana, which has the capacity to handle three patients. It is treating no Ebola patients at this time.

Once these spots run out, Ebola patients will be treated where they are, and officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be dispatched to help care for them and make sure precautions are taken to ensure that no one else contracts the deadly virus, said CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds.