ANNAPOLIS. Md. (WJZ) — A number of new developments in the ongoing concerns over Ebola.

Rochelle Ritchie has details on three area hospitals designated for treatment.

Those hospitals are Johns Hopkins Hospital, the University of Maryland Medical Center and MedStar Washington Medical Center in D.C.  All three have been designated as a second option to treat Ebola patients. This comes just hours after the CDC ordered Maryland health officials to screen travelers from three West Africa before they come into the state.

The threat of Ebola continues to put Maryland hospitals on high alert. Now they are becoming part of the national effort to fight the deadly virus.

“It makes a lot of sense to focus our training, focus our preparedness on hospitals that are ready for this challenge,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland Department of Health.

Governor Martin O’Malley announced Thursday Johns Hopkins Hospital, the University of Maryland Medical Center and MedStar Washington Medical Center in D.C. are among those listed as second options for the treatment of Ebola patients who are unable to go to one of the federal health facilities.

“So the approach has been if there is a patient or two we’ve got places for them,” Sharfstein said.

Dr. Sharfstein says the health care professionals at the University of Maryland Medical Center as well as Johns Hopkins Hospital have undergone serious and intense training to care for Ebola patients.

Maryland health officials have also been instructed to screen travelers entering the state from three West African countries–Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Bayode Ogundele is an American citizen who recently traveled to Africa. Although Nigeria is not a western country, he was still screened before boarding his flight.

“It takes only one person to just bring it into the country and we are all done,” he said.

While curing those infected is the goal Maryland health officials say safety of health care professionals is their number one priority and will follow the new guidelines and invest in the proper gear to protect hospital staff.

The University of Maryland is now testing an Ebola vaccine created by the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda on volunteers. It’s a race they hope to win.

“This is the kind of call to arms that the outbreak of Ebola disease in West Africa has created,” said Dr. Myron Levine, University of Maryland vaccine development.

All three hospitals that are now listed as designated treatment facilities for Ebola patients have worked in collaboration for the last few months and are armed and ready to help.

The state has created a webpage dedicated to Ebola information here.

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