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AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The top health official in Texas says most hospitals can’t handle Ebola patients and infected people should instead be treated at specialized care centers.

State Health Commissioner David Lakey’s comments represent a dramatic break with past federal assertions that nearly any American hospital can cope with the virus.

Lakey said Thursday “that strategy needs to change.”

Complete Coverage Of Ebola In North Texas

He spoke in Austin during the first public hearing of a 17-member task force working to stop the spread of Ebola. A Liberian man visiting Dallas died Oct. 8 from Ebola. Two nurses treating him contracted Ebola and remain hospitalized.

The panel has already designated two Texas hospitals as specialized Ebola treatment centers. Task force members called for contingency plans in “the unlikely event that a widespread outbreak of Ebola occurs in Texas.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry was in Dallas October 21 to announce a new plan to bring together key medical resources in the battle against the deadly Ebola virus.

“In the event of another diagnosis this facility will allow us to act quickly to limit the virus’ reach and give patients the care they need in an environment where health care workers are specially trained and equipped to deal with the unique requirements of this disease,” said Gov. Perry. “We are fortunate to have such talented and dedicated leaders here in North Texas, and at UTMB Galveston, who are willing to step forward during a time of need.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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