CBSN

Gearing up for the Ebola fight

Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidelines to help protect health care workers from Ebola, they're trying to get word out to the hospital workers on the front lines.

In New York City today, officials held a massive training session at the Javitz Convention Center to showcase the new protocols and the recommended protective gear for thousands of health care workers.

"We are here today because one health care worker getting Ebola when caring for a patient is too many," said Dr. Arjun Srinivasan of the CDC. And of course, it's not just one health care worker who's been infected -- two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, contracted the virus while caring for the first patient diagnosed in the U.S., Thomas Eric Duncan, who later died.

Pham is being cared for at a specialized National Institutes of Health facility in Bethesda, Maryland, where she was just upgraded to good condition. Vinson is hospitalized at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which successfully treated two aid workers infected in West Africa.

In the training session Tuesday, Srinivasan and other experts explained the new, heightened protective measures, which include suiting up in more extensive protective gear that leaves no skin exposed.

The CDC now recommends that health care workers wear double layers of gloves, respirators, and surgical hoods to ensure complete coverage of the head and neck, along with full-body suits that repel bodily fluids.

The CDC also calls for repeated training sessions for health care workers, an on-site supervisor dedicated to making sure gear is put on and taken off safely, and limiting the number of workers in a patient's isolation room.

What did health care workers in the audience think of the demonstration? "Even though it was time consuming, it had a lot of steps, I do feel a little safer," registered nurse Jennifer Johnson told CBS News.

"I think I have the knowledge, I need the practice. In taking my garments on, taking them off. I need that practice, said nurse Debbie Friedland.