WASHINGTON (AP) — The government will begin taking the temperatures of travelers from West Africa arriving at five U.S. airports as part of a stepped-up response to the Ebola epidemic.
President Barack Obama said the new efforts would provide yet another tier of protection at key U.S. points of entry.
"These measures are really just belt-and-suspenders -- it's an added layer of protection on top of the procedures already in place at several airports," Obama told state and local officials in a teleconference call Wednesday.
However, the focus is still on stopping the epidemic in West Africa, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Frieden, said in Atlanta.
"As long as Ebola continues to spread in Africa, we can't make the risk zero, here," he said.
At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said the additional layer of screening would begin at New York's JFK International and the international airports in Newark, Washington Dulles, Chicago and Atlanta. He said the new steps would include taking temperatures and would begin Saturday at JFK.
Frieden said temperatures would be taken with a device that would avoid direct contact with the travelers.
Obama said the new measures also will include more screening questions for passengers arriving from the countries worst hit by the outbreak — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. He says the procedures will allow United States officials to isolate, evaluate and monitor travelers and collect any information about their contacts.
Earnest said the five airports cover the destinations of 94 percent of the people who travel to the U.S. from the three heavily hit countries in West Africa — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. He estimated that about 150 people would be checked a day under the new procedures.
A Liberian man who had come to the U.S. with Ebola died Wednesday. Forty-two-year-old Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed in the U.S. with the disease, had come to Dallas in late September but did not display obvious signs of having Ebola when he entered the U.S.
Also on Wednesday, Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Customs and Border Protection agents are handing out information sheets to travelers with details of what symptoms to look for and directions to call doctors if they become sick within 21 days — the incubation period for Ebola.
Homeland Security agents at airports and other ports of entry already had begun observing travelers coming into the United States for potential signs of Ebola infection.
The fact sheet to be given to arriving travelers says: "You were given this card because you arrived to the United States from a country with Ebola." It tells passengers to "please watch your health for the next 21 days" and to "take your temperature every morning and evening, and watch for symptoms of Ebola," which are listed on the sheet.
Mayorkas said agents would observe all travelers for "general signs of illness" at the points of entry. He spoke at an airport security conference.
The White House, in a fact sheet this week, generally described Customs and Border Protection practices of being alert to passengers with obvious illnesses, but did not specify exactly what would be done to find potentially infected passengers.
The Obama administration has wrestled in recent weeks with what it can do, since arriving passengers may not be symptomatic when they arrive.
Mayorkas said the department was aware of those issues and is "taking a layered approach."
Ebola has killed more than 3,400 people in West Africa and infected at least twice that many, according to the World Health Organization. The virus has taken an especially devastating toll on health care workers, sickening or killing more than 370 of them in the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — places that already were short on doctors and nurses before Ebola.
President Barack Obama has said the U.S. will be "working on protocols to do additional passenger screening both at the source and here in the United States." Extra screening measures are in effect at airports in the outbreak zones. Departing passengers are screened for fever and asked if they have had contact with anyone infected with the disease.
The tracker is legit -- but only as legit as the people in the store let it be. The fact is, there are a lot of factors that happen in a store that the tracker can't always account for, and so your mileage may vary with the online tracker for those reasons.
As others have already mentioned, there's a narrative to the tracker that the store supposedly follows: You place your order online. That order arrives at the store. The labels print out and are put on boxes. And the order itself appears on a screen at the make-line.
The person on the make-line assembles your food items and indicates that the order has been made. The tracker updates and tells you that your order is now in the oven. After a set period of time -- somewhere around 7 minutes, give or take -- the order should be out of the oven and in the process of being boxed. (Note: There is no button for employees to push to say that an order has come out of the oven; this is an automatically timed event on the tracker.)
Once your items are out of the oven and boxed, your delivery driver packs them in the hot-bag, gathers up any other items you may have ordered (sodas, sauces, chips, etc.), and "punches out" the order to say that, why yes, it is out for delivery. Once again, the tracker updates to let you know that your order is on its way.
Once the order is delivered and the driver returns, the driver signs back in to indicate that his run is complete. The tracker then updates for the final time -- though, you should already know that the order's been completed based on the pizza in your hands.
Now, all that said, there are some factors that can affect your Tracker experience. Because delivery drivers can "game the system," so to speak.
By Domino's policies, for example, no driver is supposed to take more than two or three deliveries at a time (as memory serves). Corporate policy is very emphatic about that. Even though we don't do the "30 minutes or it's free" rule anymore, we do still strive to have every order delivered within 30 minutes or less to ensure customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, that 30 minute rule was only really made for stores with smaller delivery radii and enough drivers to consistently handle the amount of business received in a given day.
I worked at a store in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood that delivered to roughly half the city of Pittsburgh -- including every college campus, nearly every major hospital, the Strip District, and the Homewood/Lincoln-Larimer/East Hills neighborhoods. That's a huge radius to cover, and even with an average of at least eight to 10 drivers per night, we didn't have the ability to do our deliveries entirely by the book. Especially not if any given driver wanted to make a decent living that night. To compensate, most drivers would try to take between four and six deliveries at a time based, depending on the area to which they were delivering.
Under those circumstances, we usually aimed for about a 45 minutes delivery time. And that's what we told people when they ordered -- somewhere between 30-45 minutes for your order. People were usually perfectly happy with this -- unless, of course, things took longer. But the tracker and the Pulse software used in-store aren't set up to account for these individual store practices. Rather, they're keyed into corporate standards.
In other words, each store is eventually evaluated on these widespread, not always applicable standards. Each order that's placed has a timer attached to it tracking the time between when it's placed and when it's marked as completed. Those timers and statistics are then reported for store evaluations and taken into account, along with any and all customer feedback. These make a significant difference as to how a store is rated, how it's treated, and essentially, how much a store is left to its own devices and allowed to keep doing what it does without supervisors breathing down the manager's neck.
So stores will sometimes fudge numbers and cut corners so their stats look better. It doesn't usually make any difference to the customer, who still gets warm pizza in a generally acceptable timeline, but it does make the store look like it's running more efficiently than it really is.
Here are some of the things that happened in our store to make it look more efficient.
1) The order comes in and the make-line workers immediately mark it as completed and put in the oven. Since you can go back to look at the order after you've submitted it, this gave them a couple minutes time to get the order made and put in the oven, even though the tracker says it's already in the oven. So shave two minutes there.
2) The order gets through the oven, boxed, and then put on the heat racks to be bagged and sent out. Meanwhile, on the computer for the drivers, there are five or six orders popping up on the screen with different addresses. It's my turn to take the next delivery, so I see there are two right now that have been placed for a campus in Oakland -- both are sitting at about 8 minutes on the timer, which means they're ready to be punched out and delivered.
But just as I'm ready to punch those two deliveries out, there are another two for the same neighborhood that just got placed. My choices are to let these other two orders sit on the timers for another 8 minutes (by which time they'll be a nice red color on the screen, indicating that they're very late) and then punch out all four deliveries for myself, or I can punch out the two orders now and use my "dummy account" (literally a ghost driver with a different name) to sign out the other two deliveries and take all four at once, delivering them in priority of time and convenience of route.
I use my dummy account to make the stats look better. Essentially, it means that the system shows us as having twice as many drivers working, while allowing us to take the deliveries we know we can make. Shady as hell when it comes to store evaluations, but for customer satisfaction, we didn't have that many problems.
3) Now I've got my four deliveries punched out on both of my driver accounts, and I'm out the door to make my deliveries. My first two deliveries on my main account are finished, but I'm still making the deliveries on my dummy account, so I'm not going to be back in the amount of time that the system thinks that I should. That means, once again, that we have two options: A) We can let the timers say that the driver took a hell of long time to complete one delivery, or B) we let the timers reflect the general amount of time it takes to make the deliveries by having drivers/managers/make-line workers still in-store sign drivers in at around the time that they should be coming back from that delivery. Which one looks better for the store? You guessed it. Option B.
Now this is where things have a tendency to get a little hinky with the Tracker. Because there are a couple things going on now that aren't quite 100 percent true -- but do show up a certain way on the Tracker.
The biggest problem is that because, say, Bob just got back from delivering orders and signed back in, any online order that he was delivering (as Bob) is now marked by the Tracker as having been delivered. But since Bob had five deliveries out and three of them were under his dummy account, Fred, Bob is still finishing his last two or three deliveries. So Bob may still has your order in his car (and, quite possibly, another one on his route to deliver before he gets to your house), despite the fact that the Tracker has so graciously informed you that your pizza has already been delivered.
We would get a decent number of calls from people informing us that the Tracker told them that their pizza had been delivered, but that they didn't have anything on their table yet. You might get some people in-store and on the phones who tell you that the Tracker automatically does all that stuff, or that the driver should be there any minute and the Tracker just worked a little faster than your driver. But rest assured, unless your driver really messed up, your pizza did not get delivered to someone else. Or at the very least, if it did, the Tracker isn't the way you're going to find that out.
15 minutes at regular homecoming and now off to anti lol— Bremsy :) (@AlyssaBrems) October 5, 2014
Comin to ya live from anti homecoming pic.twitter.com/PXJBewHfko— Payton Hostens (@payton_hostens) October 5, 2014
Homecoming was amazing with these people pic.twitter.com/aB2142rwkV— Katie (@kat_christensen) October 5, 2014
My 10-month-old son and I recently went on a three-week road trip down Route 66, from Chicago to Santa Monica. We stayed in an array of accommodations, from boutique hotels to roadside motels, from Wigwams to Wagon Wheel cabins. One of our favorite nights was spent at the Pasfield House Inn in Springfield, Illinois. As a history buff I was pretty excited to visit Springfield, former home of Lincoln (easily in my top 5 of U.S. Presidents) and a slew of iconic Route 66 spots like the Cozy Dog Drive-In (home of the world's best corn dogs). Oh, and the chilli. Mustn't forget the chilli. Springfield actually passed a resolution in the early '90s declaring itself the "Chilli Capital of the Civilized World."
When we arrived it was very late, but the owner of the Pasfield House, local historian Tony Leone, didn't just leave a light on to make us feel welcome, he personally greeted us with that famous Prairie State hospitality. We felt immediately at home. Then we walked into the Georgian inn, a Springfield Landmark, and were blown away by its well-appointed antebellum style. The home was built in 1896, by the grandson of one of Springfield's most wealthiest citizens, and it's been lovingly preserved, under the care of Mr. Leone since he purchased it in 1996. The massive renovation undertaking was finally completed in 2002. It's now a 6-suite bed and breakfast that just oozes charm.
From the granite-top kitchenettes to the the relaxing jacuzzie baths, every detail has been meticulously thought-out and well-considered by Mr. Leone. I could have easily spent an entire week there, and I was informed that in fact the inn sees quite a lot of visitors, especially repeat guests, who visit while on a Lincoln-inspired pilgrimage. You see, there's a veritable "cult of Lincoln" comprised of history buffs who follow in the footsteps of the sixteenth President and learn as much about his life as possible.
The connection between the Pasfield House and Lincoln is interesting. George Pasfield was a banker who met Lincoln when they both lived in Springfield. They bonded over their experiences aboard a New Orleans flatboat. Pasfield and Lincoln were both involved in establishing the state capital in Springfield and Pafield became the patriarch of one of the wealthiest families in Springfield. Owning acres upon acres of land around the State Capitol.
Talk about location! The inn is within walking distance to the Illinois State Capitol and downtown Springfield. It was also close to the Cozy Dog, so we had corn dogs and french fries for breakfast, because when in Rome... Next time, I'm also going to definitely do the Lincoln Ghost Walk Tour, a spirited 90-minute, 10-block tour of Lincoln's life and death.
Leone has been accumulating accolades for this impressive restoration, as it reflects on the grandeur of Springfield's bygone time, helps encourage and inspire others to rehab historic buildings, and serves as a "catalyst for reinvestment in the once declining neighborhood near the State Capitol."
A little about Leone:
Tony is a local fixture in the Springfield community and for many years he participated in state and local politics. He was the Republican Caucus Clerk of the Illinois General Assembly for over 14 years, during which time he was involved in political fundraising and event planning. This certainly served him well once he started making his foray into the hospitality business. The Pasfield House is a popular venue for weddings, themed dinner parties, fundraising galas, cooking classes under the tutelage of gourmet chefs, and other events.
Leone is a charming character who loves Springfield and wants to promote it to the world. His incredible bed and breakfast is, in my opinion, reason enough to get tourists to the town, and once there, they'll be pleasantly surprised at just how great the Illinois town is. It's got a little something for everyone. Lovers of Lincoln, history buffs, Route 66 aficionados, and foodies will all find something to fall in love with.
Speaking of charming, here's Shelby Stouffe, Assistant Manager at the Pasfield House. She's a fabulous local girl, who's a delight to chat with.
From its landscaped gardens to its lush interior design, the Pasfield House Inn is a destination in and of itself. I can't wait to go back.