Patient isolated at St. David's tests negative for Ebola

Negative. That's the result from the 2nd test of a Round Rock man who arrived Sunday at St. David's hospital with Ebola like symptoms. FOX 7 obtained a copy of the notification from the Department of State Health Services that was emailed to state leaders Monday afternoon. The situation was tense because the man had recently been in Liberia - a hot spot for the deadly disease. The all clear from the CDC in Atlanta confirms the analysis done earlier in Austin by the state. While there is confidence in the results- questions continue to be raised about how prepared the healthcare community is for the next crisis.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn, was in Austin Monday afternoon to cast a vote, but he also took a swipe at how the federal government initially responded to the Ebola crisis.

"Right now it looks like the Keystone Cops," said Senator Cornyn.

But the senator did say the appointment of an Ebola czar - and the creation of an infectious disease swat team are positive steps.

"I would have felt better if it was someone with medical experience, certainly we have some very highly qualified people who I think would help regain the public's confidence," said the Senator.

Restoring confidence was also the focus Monday for members of a state house committee.

"Where I sit, the local governments and the state not the CDC, it's the local governments and the state, that are going to determine whether or not we succeed or fail in Texas," said Committee Chairman Rep. Garnet Coleman ( D ) Houston.

Local and state health officials who appeared before the house county affairs committee said lessons were learned since the Dallas Ebola case.

But while improvements are being made the assessment also came with a warning

"And so all of that is evolving, and my concern has been Mr. Chairman, is how we are communicating these protocols," said Committee member Rep. Lois Kolkhorst ( R ) Brenham.

State and local Hospital officials told the committee that it's been difficult adjusting to the changing rules issued by the CDC because of the Dallas case.

"But I think people have been a little bit confused about the responsibility, based on. Inconsistencies," said Kirk Cole, the Associate Commissioner for the Dept. of State Health Services.

"Well I think one of the first issues is, Preparedness is a continual process."

St. David's activated its infectious disease protocol this past weekend when a man arrived at the emergency room with Ebola like symptoms. According to a source, the man's physical condition didn't necessarily trigger the activation but that he admitted he had recently been to Africa.

Hospital administrators did a briefing last week about containment rules. Now, asking about recent travel to hot spots according to V.P. Quality Control Dave Thomsen, is as important as asking about how the patient is feeling.

"That's the determining factor, so that's sort of our decision diamond, that if they answer that question in the positive we are going to treat them a lot more seriously," said Thomsen.

Looking ahead and being prepared for the next crisis is made possible because the current one seems to be fading. Of the 166 people linked in some way to the Dallas Ebola case, 43 have officially been cleared. And the majority still on the watch list are going through low level monitoring.

A discussion is also underway about whether or not to designate one or more state hospital as central sites to quarantine high risk patients.


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