Hospital: Deputy in good condition

FRISCO — Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital says the deputy under their care is in good condition and isn't showing symptoms of Ebola at this time.

Dallas County's Sgt. Michael Monnig was taken from a Frisco CareNow clinic to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Wednesday amid fears he had the Ebola virus.

"Mr. Monnig's condition is good with no fever, no vomiting, no diarrhea reported. His current condition is NOT consistent with an early stage ebola diagnosis. Texas Health Dallas' standard laboratory testing indicates all findings are within normal ranges. Further lab testing specimens have been received in Austin and results are expected later today," the hospital told News 8 Thursday around noon.

"The risk is extremely low because this individual didn't have contact with the Ebola patient, but we want to err on the side of caution," said Texas Health Commissioner Dr. David Lakey. "We understand there's a lot of anxiety in the community, and we hope getting test results back will help calm those fears."

Monnig, of The Colony, was isolated after arriving at the hospital Wednesday. He had accompanied county health officials Zachary Thompson and Christopher Perkins into the Dallas apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan had been staying when he fell ill with Ebola.

"Initial reports from the urgent care facility indicated the patient had direct contact with the Dallas 'patient zero'; however, Frisco firefighter-paramedics now report the patient says he had contact with the apartment and family members related to the Dallas 'patient zero' prior to the apartment being decontaminated," said city of Frisco spokesperson Dana Baird.

The deputy had been ordered to go inside the unit with officials to get a quarantine order signed on October 1. No one who entered the apartment that day wore protective gear.

According to Christopher Dyer, president of the Dallas County Sheriff's Association, Monnig said he was feeling sick to his stomach before his visit to the clinic. Dyer expressed concern for Monnig and his family.

"He's doing exactly basically what we told him to do: If at any time you don't feel well, go seek some medical attention," Dyer said Wednesday. "I'm being told that he's not exhibiting classic signs of the Ebola virus. It's just a matter that he doesn't feel well, and because he had contact with Mr. Duncan's apartment, they're taking every precaution."

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That view was echoed by Frisco Fire Department Chief Mark Piland.

"This patient was not experiencing all of those [Ebola] symptoms, just a few," he said. "Based upon screening criteria from the CDC, the treatment tends to be a little bit more conservative at first."

A staff member at CareNow, located at the corner of Main Street and FM 423 in far west Frisco, called 911 to report Monnig as a possible Ebola patient.

The facility closed early Wednesday night and CareNow officials said it would remain closed until Friday morning while it undergoes a second "comprehensive cleaning" and as officials wait for test results on Monnig.

"All of us want to understand the facts about the patient and his condition," CareNow said in a written statement Wednesday night. "This is a very difficult environment, and we understand our role as one of the first lines of defense for our patients and their loved ones."

Including staff, there were 14 people inside the CareNow clinic when Monnig arrived. The fire department released all of them to go home.

Denton County Health Department director Dr. Matt Richardson said Monnig is not currently classified as having had "contact" with Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan. "Because of the absence of contact to the Ebola patient or anyone symptomatic with Ebola, we see no threat to the public's health regarding this individual," Richardson said in a written statement. "We follow the guidelines from CDC when evaluating these contacts, and public health officials collectively see no risk of Ebola to the general public regarding this person, his family or any facility at this time."

Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said "risk is minimal" from the new potential Ebola case. Frisco Fire Chief Mark Piland said the patient was transported because he had "a few" symptoms that matched those in the CDC guidelines, but not all of the symptoms.

"Public safety is our top priority," Maso said, adding that he was proud of the response of public safety officials in his city.

"At this point, I think we need to take every precaution," Dyer said. "The hospital will get his blood work tested and we will know whether he is positive or negative for it, so until we know precisely whether he has it or not, we need to take every precaution."

RELATED: Deputies sent into apartment where man with Ebola stayed

Frisco's fire chief said he was still figuring out how to decontaminate the department's people and gear.

"We have calls in to the Centers for Disease Control," Piland said. "We're also working with our public health officials here in Denton County. We're going to get their recommendations on the proper decontamination procedures for the ambulances."

Health officials said the transportation of the patient was done out of an abundance of caution.

"We are being very cautious and are in contact with the health department to ensure we follow proper protocol," said Vicki Johns, with CareNow. "Our concern is for the safety and well being of everyone in our clinic."

News 8's Jason Whitely spoke to Chuck Moreno, who had gone into the CareNow facility with his 15-year-old son to get a flu shot Wednesday. Moreno said he saw a patient, whose skin was flushed and who was hunched over but walking, enter the clinic with his wife.

Within minutes, police and fire units surrounded the facility, taped off a gray SUV, and isolated other patients at the facility.

Moreno asked a CareNow employee if it was related to Ebola, and he said the employee nodded her head "yes."

Moreno said he and his son quarantined themselves into an examination room, put on surgical masks they found in the room and sprayed disinfectant on themselves. Moreno said staff told them he and his son couldn't leave the clinic and would be transferred to a major medical center, but he was unsure which one at the time.

Dallas County Sheriff's Association President Christopher Dyer has repeatedly said that he did not believe that deputies should have been sent inside the quarantined apartment.

"This is a federal issue," he said. "The CDC should have come in and taken care of this. A local department is not equipped to deal with a virus that is potentially this deadly."

Monnig had planned to come back to work Wednesday, Dyer said. A couple of the other deputies have returned to work, he said.


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