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New North Texas Ebola Treatment Facility To Open Wednesday

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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Right down the street from the home of Dan Hahn, doctors and nurses are moving in special equipment for a first of its kind ‎Ebola treatment facility. It'll be housed inside the Methodist Campus for Continuing Care in Richardson.

"I think that's excellent,"Hahn said, adding, "probably should have done it prior to that." Of course the "that" he is referring to are the cases of Ebola diagnosed in Dallas starting in September.

Now, whenever anyone is diagnosed with Ebola in North Texas, they'll be treated in Richardson.

As part of the unprecedented partnership, UT Southwestern Medical Center will provide doctors and nurses. Parkland Hospital will provide a team of nurses, pharmacists, and lab techs to the unit and equipment as well.

Governor Rick Perry made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday.‎ "‎This allows us to react quickly to limit this virus' reach," he said.

Perry said the facility in Richardson and a similar Ebola treatment facility being established at UT Medical Branch in Galveston should be operational by Wednesday (October 22).

Once a patient is diagnosed, care teams in Richardson will need six hours notice to prepare for their care. While the unit at Methodist's facility has 10 beds, it will care for two people to start.

UT Southwestern President Dr. Daniel Podolsky says one of their doctors treated Ebola patients in Africa in 1996. "She therefore experienced the challenges of caring for patients suffering from Ebola in a setting without running water or the technology available to us here."

Parkland's CEO Dr. Fred Cerise said, "We developed a special pathogen strike team that will include 50 nurses and specialized staff."

The move comes three weeks after Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital began treating the first Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan and two of his caregivers, who also contracted the virus.

Governor Perry explained why ‎Presbyterian isn't involved directly with the new unit, saying,"That hospital has been on the front line. They have paid a fairly heavy price if you will. To give them some relief‎ if you will is very important."

Both the Governor and a Presbyterian spokeswoman say the hospital will continue to share any lessons learned.

Methodist Campus for Continuing Care
(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Dr. Sam Bagchi of Methodist Health Systems says ‎all caregivers involved are specially trained to treat those with Ebola. "We wanted to make sure it was safe, and we feel it is safe and when we realized it was the right thing to do, our leadership tram and our board felt like it was right to step forward and help out."

As for Dan Hahn, he has some concerns about the new Ebola treatment facility nearby. "I can't say that there isn't some, but I think for the most part I think we've been through again some of the trials, and I think we're a lot better prepared for it than we were a month ago."

Follow Jack on Twitter: @cbs11jack

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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