DALLAS — The first Dallas nurse to have contracted Ebola after treating an infected Liberian man is scheduled to be moved Thursday to a specialized medical facility in Maryland.
The National Institutes of Health said in a statement that Nina Pham, 26, will be taken from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas to the NIH center in Bethesda, Maryland. The NIH facility has one of four biocontainment units in the United States.
Texas Health Presbyterian officials said Wednesday that Pham was in good condition.
Hospital spokesman Wendell Watson said Thursday the move is necessary because numerous employees are being monitored for symptoms of the virus and aren’t available to work.
“With so many of the medical professionals who normally staff our intensive care unit sidelined for the continuous monitoring, we felt it was in the best interest of the hospital’s employees, the nurses, the physicians, the community, to give the hospital an opportunity to prepare for tomorrow … for whatever comes next,” Watson said.
Pham will receive care from an NIH staff that specializes in infectious disease and critical care, according to the NIH statement.
A second nurse who tested positive, 29-year-old Amber Joy Vinson, has been transferred to a biohazard infectious disease center at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Pham and Vinson were involved in providing care to Thomas Duncan, who died of Ebola last week at Texas Health Presbyterian.
They wore protective gear including face shields, hazardous materials suits and protective footwear as they inserted catheters, drew blood and dealt with his body fluids. Still, the two somehow contracted Ebola.
Federal health officials said Thursday they still don’t know how the nurses caught the virus from Duncan.
Pham will be flown to Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland, a small airport about 35 miles northwest of the NIH. State police, the city and the county are coordinating to ensure she has a quick trip to the hospital, Frederick City Police Lt. Clark Pennington said Thursday.