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Former UConn Star Gives Back to Local Teens


Former UConn basketball player Andre Drummond may have left the state of Connecticut, but his ties still run deep – and, evidently, so do his pockets.

The current Detroit Pistons center is donating $10,000 to launch a program for local teens focusing on physical and academic education.

The program will allow teens full access to YMCA facilities in Middlesex, where Drummond himself once played ball, and on-site tutoring from Wesleyan University.

Annual teen memberships at the YMCA cost $240 per person. Drummond's program will provide free one-year memberships for 42 low-income teens.

Drummond's mother will present the YMCA with his donation Friday afternoon on his behalf.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

I-91, I-95 Weekend Construction to Cause Traffic Delays in New Haven


Motorists should expect delays over the weekend on the Interstate 91 and 95 corridors due to construction to realign portions of the highways.

Here's the lane closure schedule:

  • 10 p.m. Friday, Oct.17 to 2 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18: Double left lane closure on I-91 South from exits 4 (State Street) to 1 (Route 34 westbound).
  • 10 p.m. Friday, Oct.17 to 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 20: Double right lane closure on Route 34 East beginning at the on-ramp at South Frontage Road; left lane closure on I-95 South from exit 50 (Woodward Avenue) to exit 48 (I-91 Northbound); right lane closure on I-95 South between exit 48 (I-91 North) and exit 46 (Long Wharf Drive); single right lane closure on the I-91 South ramp to I-95 South between exit 1 (Route 34 westbound) and the ramp to I-95 Southbound.
  • 2 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 to 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 20: Double right lane closure on I-91 South from exit 4 (State Street) to exit 1 (Route 34 westbound).

Here's the scheduled for ramp closures and detours:

  • 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17 to 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 20: Closure and detour for I-91 south ramp to Route 34 (exit 1) and Trumbull Street ramp onto I-91 south.

  • 2 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 to 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 20: Closure and detour for I-91 south ramp to Route 34 westbound (exit 1) and Trumbull Street ramp to I-91 south.

  • Midnight Saturday, Oct. 18 to 5 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 19: Closure and detour for the I-95 south ramp to exit 46 (Sargent Drive)

You can visit www.i95newhaven.com for maps showing detours and more information.

Photo Credit: DOT

Ebola Cases Lead to New Protocols at Conn. Hospitals


The Chief Medical Officer of one of Connecticut's largest hospital systems says his staff has been preparing for a potential Ebola patient for months.

"We've augmented our training" Hartford Healthcare's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rocco Orlando said during an interview Wednesday.

“We’re educating all of the physician practices of the 2500 docs that are on our medical staff so that they know how to screen for Ebola, and so then they can refer those folks to a hospital, to an emergency room,” Orlando said.

Hartford Healthcare operates a network of facilities, including Hartford Hospital, the Hospital of Central Connecticut, MidState Medical Center, Backus Hospital and Windham Hospital.

Emergency room staff has been trained to be mindful of patients with fever and with recent travel histories in West Africa, according to Orlando.

Republicans in the Connecticut House said they're happy with the steps that have been taken so far, but are pushing for public hearings with the Department of Public Health to make sure all steps are being taken across the state.

“The whole process unfortunately is learn as we go along," said State Rep. Prasad Prinivasan, a medical doctor himself. "That’s what’s happening here. We have the suits that everyone’s wearing, but if everyone’s wearing the suit, how did the nurse in Dallas acquire Ebola?"

Prasad said he has no doubt that Connecticut's hospitals and doctors are some of the best in the world, but added that the state has nothing to lose by asking questions in a public forum to make sure everything possible is being done in the event that a patient turns up with the virus.

He said his biggest fear is that health care workers are the most vulnerable to infection.

“How are we training the healthcare provider? My concern is that no person providing care to these patients should acquire that in any form or fashion," Prasad said.

Dr. Orlando with Hartford Healthcare explained that most directives are coming from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, but emphasized the importance of opening the lines of communication among local, state and federal agencies.

“Although the likelihood of a mass infection across this country is exceedingly remote, I want to emphasize to all of your viewers that that is unlikely. At the same time to really contain this and any outbreak is to tell you that we need national and regional planning.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy will hold a news conference alongside state Department of Public Health Commissioner Jewel Mullen to update the state on Connecticut's precautionary measures at 2 p.m. Thursday outside the State Emergency Operations Center in Hartford.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

NBC Ebola Patient "Out of Woods"


"Out of the woods."

Those are the words Ashoka Mukpo's parents use to describe their son's progress.

"He's doing really well, he's feeling stronger everyday, although he's still very weak," Diana Mukpo, his mother, told NECN.

His father, Dr. Mitchell Levy, said his son is not showing anymore symptoms of fever, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

"All of his laboratory tests are now normal," said Dr. Levy.

In fact, his parents say his appetite has even allowed him to eat a burrito.

The 33-year-old NBC News freelancer who was diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus is still recovering in isolation at a the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

On Monday, he was finally well enough to go on Twitter and say he's "on the road to good health."

He also thanked everyone for all their "good vibes."

Mukpo was diagnosed with Ebola while working as a camera operator in Liberia while he was there to document the Ebola epidemic.

Back home in Providence, the dog he rescued from Liberia waits patiently, along with his girlfriend, who's from London. The whole family just returned from visiting him in Nebraska on Wednesday.

"Going through this experience first-hand has made him feel even more passionate about the plight of the people in Liberia," Diana Mukpo said.

Mukpo also got blood from Ebola survivor and mission worker, Dr. Kent Brantley. He can now get out of bed on his own and walk around, and may soon use a stationary bike. He must have two negative Ebola tests 24 hours apart before he's cleared to leave isolation and the hospital.

On Wednesday Mukpo sent words of encouragment to the two nurses diagnosed with the virus, tweeting: " Wishing for a speedy recovery for those two Dallas nurses. This thins is not easy but you're both going to make it. Thanks for your bravery."

Man Needed 14 Stitches After Apparent Coyote Attack


A 35-year-old Clinton resident said he needed 14 stitches in his face after what appeared to be a coyote attacked him unprovoked Tuesday night, biting him in the face.

Police said the animal, believed to be a wild coyote or large dog of some sort, went after the man while he was walking down Liberty Street around 9 p.m. Tuesday. The victim said he was going to let his landlord's dogs out when he was attacked.

"The animal lunged at his face and bit his face," said Clinton police spokesman Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn. "We see wild animals, including coyotes and foxes, every night. They're out here. We have them."

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection sent investigators to the area in search of the animal, but they turned up empty handed.

Police said the resident did not approach or otherwise engage the animal prior to the attack. According to DEEP officials, unprovoked coyote attacks are rare but not unheard of.

"In the middle of the evening, you'll hear coyotes howling some nights," explained Bruce Farmer, who lives in the area.

The victim was treated and released from Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he received 14 stitches in the left side of his nose. He said he'll go back next week to have the stitches removed and fight out if he'll need plastic surgery.

He received treatment for rabies as a precaution, according to police.

Although the animal hasn't been officially identified, the victim said he's all but certain it was a coyote and knows they live in the area.

Police said coyote sightings are frequent in the area. Residents who encounter wildlife are reminded to keep their distance and report unusual encounters to local animal control officers.

"Use common sense and exercise caution," Dunn said.

Residents called the incident unnerving but said they won't live in fear of another attack.

"You can't stop what you normally do, because otherwise you become a prisoner," said Farmer's wife, Barbara.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crews Weren't Warned of Races Where Heat Took Toll


Four student-athletes were treated for asthma and heat exhaustion, and one spectator also needed medical attention Wednesday afternoon at a high school cross-country meet in Manchester, an event that local EMTs say they knew nothing about.

Runners from more than 30 high school teams across the state congregated at Manchester's Wickham this afternoon for the annual Central Connecticut Conference Cross Country Championship.

Temperatures climbed toward 80 degrees, and the unseasonable warmth and stifling humidity took its toll. Firefighter said the first student-athlete developed breathing problems around 3:30 p.m., just half an hour after the meet kicked off, according to mysportsresults.com.

"Our initial crews arrived, treated that kid, and while they were treating him, someone else came to them with difficulty breathing as well," explained Manchester Fire Battalion Chief Joshua Beaulieu.

Soon two more runners came down with heat exhaustion, and one adult spectator was taken to the hospital for treatment of an unrelated medical condition. Four ambulances were called to the scene to bring them to local hospitals. Fire officials said one of the students suffering heat exhaustion was treated at the scene.

Fire officials said they were never informed the event was happening. According to David Skoczulek of the Manchester Ambulance Service, ambulances were not requested to be on standby during the meet.

"Certainly, it wouldn't have hurt to have us there," Skoczulek said.

Betty Knapp, the CCC liaison for cross-country, said Thursday evening that the conference will make some changes to prevent a similar event from happening in the future.

"In light of the weather circumstances that occurred today, we will either increase medical coverage or change the way we run the championship. We will review that at our next conference meeting," Knapp said in a statement.

A dozen firefighters and EMTs responded to the park and remained on scene until the end of the final race in the event that other runners became sick.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Truck Crash Causes Congestion on I-95 in Southern CT


Heavy rain is making for a messy commute this morning and that is causing problems on the highways.

The biggest problem is on Interstate 95 South and traffic is heavily congested from Bridgeport to Greenwich, where there was a double tractor-trailer crash near exit 5 early this morning.

The trucks have been moved, but state police said an oil spill at the scene of the crash will take a while to clean up.  

Check our traffic map to see what your route to work or school looks like.

A crash also caused problems on Interstate 84 East in New Britain at exit 36.

Route 1 in Stamford is also backed up as drivers try to avoid the truck crash.

Another problem is on I-84 East in Waterbury, where there are backups to Harpers Ferry Road.
There are also crashes on the Merritt Parkway Southbound in New Canaan after exit 37 and exit 41 in Westport.

Download our NBC Connecticut weather app to be better prepared through the day.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Body Found in Niantic River


A body was found in the Niantic River around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, according to state police.

Police said the body was near Route 156 in Niantic, where it crosses over the river, and the State Police Major Crimes unit is at the scene.

Police have not released information on the gender of the person found or who found the body.

Check back for updates.

Scene Clearing in Lebanon


A standoff on Olenick Road in Lebanon is over.

Police went to a single-family home to serve several warrants on a man around 9:30 p.m. yesterday, but the man was not answering the door, or the phone.

A State Police SWAT team responded and the scene is clearing.

7 Quarantined in Ohio: Official


Ohio county officials held a news conference on Ebola starting at 9:30 a.m. CT Thursday after a Dallas nurse flew to Cleveland before testing positive for the Ebola virus.

Health officials said they are still trying to determine how many people might have been affected while Dallas nurse Amber Joy Vinson, 29, was visiting family. Vinson then flew on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 Monday before testing positive for the Ebola virus Wednesday.

Ohio's Summit County Health Commissioner Gene Nixon said Vinson spent most of her time at home, but said that she did visit one retail establishment and a few friends.

"She's conscientious and aware of what she'd been through," he said.

Summit County Public Health Medical Director Margo Erme said officials are currently monitoring seven people who had some contact with Vinson. She said the seven contacts are under voluntary quarantine and will be contacted daily.

"We're actually at the house because we have to monitor their temperatures at least once per day," she said.

Vinson's mother is in voluntary quarantine in Dallas and has no symptoms, according to officials. She has been in Dallas since Oct. 14.

Vinson's friend Falisha Lee told NBC's Tracy Connor via Facebook message that she's saddened by the way Vinson is being portrayed since her diagnosis.

"As a fellow nurse, I will say that I believe that she followed the precautionary processes known to her as any prudent nurse would have done," she said.

Erme seconded Lee's sentiment and credited Vinson, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and Dallas officials for taking CDC protocol "very seriously" during her visit.

"She seemed to limit her activity here, which I'm very grateful for," Erme said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Plainclothes Man by Ebola Nurse ID


As a team boarded Dallas Ebola patient Amber Vinson onto an airplane bound for an Atlanta treatment center Wednesday, a man wearing slacks, a button-down shirt and sunglasses stood out on the tarmac.

While three people in hazmat suits helped the nurse out of an ambulance, off a stretcher and up the stairs to a specially equipped jet taking her to treatment at Emory University Hospital, a man in street clothes stood nearby holding a yellow envelope.

The sight led viewers to question why the mystery man was unprotected while everyone else, including Vinson, was covered from head to toe. Two of the workers who helped her from the stretcher even wore respirators

Those questions were answered Thursday morning, when officials confirmed the man was indeed following protocol and supposed to be there.

"His role is to oversee the process of transport including on the tarmac," Randy Davis, vice president at Phoenix Air, told NBC News. "Part of our protocol is to have 1 person NOT in a bio-Hazard suit. "

Davis said the man, who he did not name, is the team's medical safety coordinator. Standard protocol is for him to wear street clothes, Davis said, because the suits can block field of vision and hearing. Davis said the man has been trained on keeping safe distance from patients and is ready to "suit up" if needed.

Coverage on Wednesday showed the unidentified man standing very near another hazmat-suited worker and then taking what appeared to be a container from one of the suited workers. He placed it on the steps to the jet and walked out of view.

He then reappeared as one of the PPE-suited workers came off the plane with red hazmat bags. He took what appeared to be a not-yet-used red bag from the worker in protective gear, then handed it to the workers as they bagged up items from the ambulance ride.

Then he conversed with two workers wearing respirators while the red hazmat bags were loaded onto the plane. He then grabbed the container from the stairs and got on the plane which departed Love Field en route to Atlanta. He got on the plane and is not in the Dallas area.

Photo Credit: Chopper 5

"Most Wanted" Fugitive Captured


A dangerous fugitive who remained on the U.S. Marshal's "Most Wanted" list for 17 years is in custody and will appear in a San Diego courtroom Thursday.

Randy Mark Yager, 58, was arrested at approximately 10:15 pm at a bar in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico.

He was transferred to the U.S. through the San Ysidro Port of Entry and will appear for a hearing in the federal courthouse downtown.

Members of the Baja California State Police Liaison Group assisted in the arrest of Yager, who was wanted on charges including murder, firearms and explosives violations, arson, and narcotics trafficking.

The warrant for his arrest was issued on June 2, 1997.

Yager was former president of the Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana area “Outlaws” Motorcycle Gang and managed to elude capture for 17 years. 

Teachers’ Memorial Middle School in Norwich Dismissing Early


Students at Teachers’ Memorial Middle School in Norwich are being sent home early because they are soaking wet after a fire alarm.

The students stood outside for about 15 minutes after a fire alarm went off, officials from the superintendent’s office said.

There was no emergency, but it was raining heavily while the students were outside and they are being dismissed at 11:45 a.m.

Dallas Nurse Infected With Ebola to Be Transferred to NIH


The first nurse to become infected with the Ebola virus in the United States is expected to be transferred from Dallas to NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, a federal government official with direct knowledge of the plans told NBC News.

Nina Pham, a Texas Christian University nursing school graduate, contracted Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan. The 26-year-old Pham helped care for Duncan from the day he was placed in intensive care at Dallas Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital until the day before his Oct. 8 death, NBC5 in Dallas reports.

Pham and other health care workers wore protective gear, including gowns, gloves, masks and face shields -- and sometimes full-body suits -- when caring for Duncan, but she became the first person to contract the disease within the United States.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to contaminated objects such as needles. It's not clear how Pham contracted the disease.

Pham was upgraded to good condition Tuesday, hospital officials in Dallas said. She is expected to be transferred to NIH's isolation unit as early as Thursday.

In a statement released Tuesday, Pham said she was doing well and feels blessed.

"I'm doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers. I am blessed by the support of family and friends and am blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world here at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas," Pham said.

Duncan contracted the disease in his home country of Liberia after neighbors said he helped take a woman dying of Ebola to the hospital. Officials have said Duncan did not disclose having contact with an Ebola patient before he flew to Dallas to visit family members.

On Thursday, Dulles International Airport began temperature screenings for travelers coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa. Passengers are also being asked about exposure to anyone sick in conjunction with their temperature being taken with no-touch thermometers.

Airport officials expect to screen 15 to 55 people per day.

Several other airports have implemented similar screenings.

A second nurse, who also cared for Duncan at the Dallas hospital, tested positive for Ebola days after Pham and has been transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Amber Joy Vinson, 29, will be treated in the special isolation unit where three other American Ebola patients have been treated, the hospital said Wednesday night — Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who both were successfully treated and discharged, and a third unidentified American still being treated there.

NBC5 contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: TCU Yearbook

WATCH: Bear Cub Stuck in Trash Bin


A young black bear found itself apparently stuck in trash bin in Pasadena, California, Thursday morning.

A larger bear could be seen just outside of the trash bin. The bear was periodically jumping into the trash bin and then jumping out.

Authorities were on scene.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.

Bear sightings are not unusual in the San Gabriel Valley foothill commuknities northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The bears often visit neighborhoods on trash day in search of an easy snack.

California's black bear population is at about 25,000 to 30,000, with most living in mountain areas above 3,000 feet, according to what the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife calls conservative estimates.  In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000.

Less than 10 percent of the state's black bear population lives in the central western and southwestern California region, according to agency estimates. About half of the population resides in an area north and west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 Chopper

Dallas Nurse Slams Hospital: "We Never Talked About Ebola"


A Dallas nurse who cared for a co-worker who contracted the Ebola virus at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said the facility was unprepared to fight the disease and she would “do anything” to avoid being treated there if she were ever to fall ill with the potentially deadly virus.

“I can no longer defend my hospital,” Briana Aguirre said Thursday on NBC's “Today" show.

Aguirre claims that before Thomas Eric Duncan arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian nursing staff had not been trained in how to treat an Ebola patient beyond being offered an “optional seminar.”

“We never talked about Ebola and we probably should have,” Aguirre said, adding that staff was “never told what to look for.”

Aguirre did not treat Duncan, who died on Oct. 8. But she said that co-workers told her that he was put in an area with up to seven other patients and it took three hours before the hospital first contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She called the situation a "chaotic scene."

"Our infectious disease department was contacted to ask, what is our protocol. And their answer was, we don’t know. We’re going to have to call you back,” she said.

She questioned why even two weeks into the Ebola crisis in Dallas protective clothing staff used still left parts of her neck uncovered.

She said that the hospital should have called in more help early on and “should have known that it was getting out of hand.”

“I watched them violate basic principles of nursing care, of medical care,” she said.

Criticism of the hospital has intensified since nurses Nina Pham and Amber Joy Vinson tested positive for the virus after caring for Duncan.  Pham is said to be in good condition at Texas Presbyterian Hospital and Vinson was transported Wednesday to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment.

Earlier this week, a national nurse’s union detailed similar claims to Aguirre's of a lack of preparation and protocols in place at Texas Presbyterian Hospital to confront Ebola.

Texas Health Presbyterian referred NBC to a detailed statement it issued early Thursday in response to claims by the nurse’s group.

The hospital said that it had followed CDC recommendations at the time for appropriate protective equipment, "sought additional guidance and clarity" then followed updated CDC guidelines.

“When the CDC recommended that nurses wear isolation suits, the nurses raised questions and concerns about the fact that the skin on their neck was exposed,” the statement said. “The CDC recommended that they pinch and tape the necks of the gown. Because our nurses continued to be concerned, particularly about removing the tape, we ordered hoods.”

The statement also said that Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, was "moved directly to a private room and placed in isolation" after he returned to the hospital in an ambulance. The hospital said it went "above and beyond CDC recommendations" for handling hazardous waste. 

Meanwhile, the hospital’s chief clinical officer Dr. Daniel Varga is set to testify before a House hearing later Thursday.

In prepared testimony, Varga apologized for having misdiagnosed Duncan during his first visit. But Varga planned to say that doctors and nurses followed guidelines.

"The hospital followed all CDC and Texas Department of Health Services recommendations in an effort to ensure the safety of all patients, hospital staff, volunteers, nurses, physicians and visitors," Varga said in the prepared testimony.

Aguirre, asked whether she would seek treatment at her own hospital should she contract Ebola, told "Today" she feared she would still be at risk. She said she “would do anything to refuse to go there.”

Aguirre, who provided care for Pham, noted that Texas Health Presbyterian had been considered a “premier” facility.

“I just don’t think that any facility in this country is prepared,” she said.

Photo Credit: Today
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Watch: CDC Chief Faces Congress


Federal health officials said Thursday they still don't know how two Dallas nurses caught Ebola from a patient, as criticism increased from lawmakers who questioned whether the nation is prepared to stop the deadly virus from spreading in the U.S.

The revelation that one of the hospital nurses was cleared to fly on a commercial airline the day before she was diagnosed raised new alarms about the American response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The death toll has climbed above 4,500 in Africa, all but a few within Liberia, Sierra Leone and New Guinea, the World Health Organization said.

President Barack Obama directed his administration to respond in a "much more aggressive way" to the threat and, for the second day in a row, canceled his out-of-town trips to stay in Washington and monitor the Ebola response.

Leading up to what was expected to be a combative hearing on Capitol Hill, the chairman of a House committee said it appeared that U.S. hospitals were not ready and health care workers weren't properly trained or equipped.

Federal health officials made "false assumptions" about the level of readiness and that "can get you in a lot of trouble," Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., said on MSNBC.

In Europe, Spain's government is wrestling with similar questions. The condition of a nursing assistant infected with Ebola at a Madrid hospital appeared to be improving, but a person who came in contact with her before she was hospitalized developed a fever and was being tested Thursday.

That second person is not a health care worker, a Spanish Health Ministry spokesman said.

To this point, only hospital workers — the Madrid nursing assistant and the two nurses in Dallas — had been known to have contracted Ebola outside West Africa during the outbreak that began in March.

Amid increasing global concern, France said that on Saturday it will begin screening passengers who arrive at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport on the once-daily flight from Guinea's capital.

In the U.S., Customs and health officials at airports in Chicago, Atlanta, suburban Washington and Newark, New Jersey, were to begin taking the temperatures of passengers from the three hardest-hit West African countries Thursday. The screenings, using no-touch thermometers, started last Saturday at New York's Kennedy International Airport.

"Despite these latest incidents, we remain confident that our public health and health care systems can prevent an Ebola outbreak here," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in prepared testimony for the hearing on Capitol Hill.

With hospitals and airports on heightened alert, Frieden said the CDC is receiving hundreds of requests for help in ruling out Ebola in travelers. So far 12 cases merited testing, he said, but the patient who later died at the Dallas hospital has been the sole traveler with the disease.

Frieden said investigators are trying to figure out how the nurses caught the virus from that Liberian patient, Thomas Eric Duncan. In the meantime, he said, their cases show a need to strengthen the infection-control procedures that "allowed for exposure to the virus."

Duncan's death and the sick health care workers in the U.S. and Spain "intensify our concern about the global health threat," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

He said two Ebola vaccine candidates were undergoing a first phase of human clinical testing this fall. But he cautioned that scientists were still in the early stages of seeking new treatments or a vaccine.

A nurse at the Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian, on Thursday described a "chaotic scene" when the hospital faced its first Ebola patient, Liberian traveler Thomas Eric Duncan.

Briana Aguirre, who has helped treat the first nurse who was infected, told NBC's "Today" show she felt exposed in the protective gear the hospital provided.

"In the second week of an Ebola crisis at my hospital, the only gear they were offering us at that time, and up until that time, is gear that is allowing our necks to be uncovered?" Aguirre said, adding that she piled on gloves and booties in triplicate and wore a plastic suit up to her neck.

The hospital said it used the protective gear recommended by the CDC and updated the equipment as CDC guidelines changed. Because nurses complained that their necks were exposed, the hospital ordered hoods for them, according to a statement from Texas Health Presbyterian.

Frieden said that nurse Amber Joy Vinson never should have been allowed to fly on a commercial jetliner because she had been exposed to the virus while caring for the first Ebola patient.

Vinson was being monitored more closely since, Nina Pham, the first nurse involved in Duncan's care, was diagnosed with Ebola.

Still, a CDC official cleared Vinson to board the Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to the Dallas area. Her reported temperature — 99.5 degrees — was below the threshold set by the agency and she had no symptoms, according to agency spokesman David Daigle.

Ebola patients are not considered contagious until they have symptoms.

Vinson was diagnosed with Ebola a day after the flight, news that sent airline stocks falling amid fears it could dissuade people from flying. Losses between 5 percent and 8 percent were recorded before shares recovered in afternoon trading.

Frontier has taken the aircraft out of service. The plane was flown Wednesday without passengers from Cleveland to Denver, where the airline said it will undergo a fourth cleaning, including replacement of seat covers, carpeting and air filters.

Even as Obama sought to calm new fears about Ebola in the U.S., he cautioned against letting them overshadow the far more urgent crisis unfolding in West Africa. Underscoring his emphasis on international action, Obama called European leaders Wednesday to discuss better coordination in the fight against Ebola in West Africa and to issue a call for more money and personnel to "to bend the curve of the epidemic."

On Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged continued support but made no specific new aid offers. China last month pledged $33 million in assistance and dispatched doctors and medical supplies.

 Expected at Thursday's congressional hearing are:

  • Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Dr. Luciana Borio, assistant commissioner, counterterrorism policy for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Dr. Robin Robinson, director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Mr. John P. Wagner, acting assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer and senior vice president Texas Health Resources

Photo Credit: Foto/Getty Images

Police Search for Missing Man


Clinton police have found a man who disappeared after a rafting trip from Long Island.

Officials started searching from William Brandon McCreery, 33, this morning and feared he might have hypothermia. He was found sleeping in a garbage can, officials said. 

McCreery, a North Carolina native who has been living on Long Island, and another person got on a raft around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, left from Greenport, New York and called a friend around 7 p.m., indicating there was a problem, police said.

By early this morning, the boaters ended up in Clinton, an area they are unfamiliar with, and started knocking on doors for assistance, police and officials from the Coast Guard said.

At 3 a.m., a resident of Grove Way in Clinton was woken by a knock at her door, but one man ran when she went to check the door, police said.

One of the men was taken to the Shoreline Clinic. Both are believed to be suffering from hypothermia.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Yale Student Hospitalized with Ebola-Like Symptoms


A Yale University student who recently returned from Liberia has been admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be evaluated for Ebola-like symptoms, according to officials from New Haven Mayor Toni Harp's office and Yale-New Haven Hospital. 

Two Yale students who had been conducting research in Liberia returned on Saturday, Oct. 11 and have been kept in voluntary sequestration, Laurence Grothier, Director of Communication for Mayor Harp.

The one student who has been admitted to the hospital had no symptoms when he left Liberia, Grothier said, and the hospital has not yet confirmed or ruled-out any diagnosis.

"It's important to know there is no diagnosis. It's important to know there is no public health risk. The hospital is exceeding all CDC recommendations in terms of protocol and the patient is still undergoing observation and evaluation," Grothier said.

AMR medical transportation company transported the patient safely to Yale-New Haven, according to Grothier.

"Late Wednesday evening, Oct. 15, Yale-New Haven Hospital admitted a patient who met the threshold to be monitored for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The hospital is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Connecticut Department of Public Health to have the patient tested for EVD. The hospital is currently overseeing operations related to the monitoring and care of the patient," a statement on Yale-New Haven's Web site says.

Neither student was doing field work and there's no public health threat, Grothier said, and the other student researcher is being monitored.

Officials from the Connecticut Department of Health said they are aware of a patient with Ebola-like symptoms being transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital and have been in communication with the hospital and the city to ensure that "all necessary protocols are in place to ensure the patient receives proper care and that hospital patients and the public are protected."

The hospital says they have been "actively monitoring the Ebola virus situation" and have procedures in place to detect and isolate any patient who shows symptoms on the disease.

"Yale-New Haven has advanced equipment and facilities and a staff well trained to treat any patient with Ebola, and holds regular drills to address situations such as infectious disease outbreaks," the hospital posted on its Web site.

A news conference will be held at 12:30 p.m. at Yale.

Before the information about the Ebola-like symptoms at the local hospital, Gov. Dannel Malloy had already planned to hold a news conference at 2 p.m. alongside state Department of Public Health Commissioner Jewel Mullen to update the state on Connecticut's precautionary measures.

Health officials said yesterday they have been preparing in the event that there were an Ebola case in the state.

On Wednesday, the chief medical officer of Hartford Healthcare, which operates a network of facilities, including Hartford Hospital, the Hospital of Central Connecticut, MidState Medical Center, Backus Hospital and Windham Hospital, said his staff has been preparing for a potential Ebola patient for months.

“We’re educating all of the physician practices of the 2,500 docs that are on our medical staff so that they know how to screen for Ebola, and so then they can refer those folks to a hospital, to an emergency room,” Dr. Rocco Orlando said.

Republicans in the state House of Representatives said yesterday that they have been happy with the steps that have been taken so far, but are pushing for public hearings with the Department of Public Health to make sure all steps are being taken across the state.

There have been three confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and all three were in Dallas, Texas.

The most recent case is a Dallas nurse who tested positive for Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, a patient who died of the disease at a Dallas hospital. She arrived on Wednesday evening at the Atlanta hospital where two other Americans have recovered from the virus.

Duncan, a 45-year-old welder from Liberia, was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil after traveling from Liberia to Dallas to visit family.

Another Dallas nurse who became infected with Ebola was upgraded to good condition Tuesday and remained good Wednesday, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said.

Symptoms of Ebola, according to the CDC:

  • Fever (greater than 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
  • Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, according to the CDC.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Southington Woman Tries to Attack Officers With Knife: Cops


A 32-year-old Southington woman called officers to her home reporting a medical issue, then came at them with a knife and refused to drop it, according to police.

Police responded to Lisa Zubrowski's home in Southington on Aug. 9 after receiving the report of a person having a medical problem there.

When they arrived, Zubrowski raised a knife over her head and charged toward officers "in a threatening manner," according to police.

Police said Zubrowski refused to drop the knife and had to be subdued so officers could take it from her. She was taken to a local hospital for treatment of an undisclosed medical issue and police obtained a warrant for her arrest.

Zubrowski was charged Thursday with criminal attempt at assault on public safety or emergency personnel, threatening, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree breach of peace and interfering with an officer.

Photo Credit: Southington Police Department
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