Presbyterian likely to host any future Ebola patients

EDITOR'S NOTE 10/3: Texas Health Resources Public Relations Director Wendell Watson is now backing away from the reasoning behind Thomas Eric Duncan's release from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sept. 26.

Here is his statement:

We have updated our story to remove reference to a flaw in the hospital's electronic health records system. Texas Health Resources has provided no other reasoning as to why Duncan was released initially at this time.

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DALLAS -- Dallas county officials confirmed Thursday that soiled bedding and other possibly-contaminated items that belong to Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan have been placed in plastic bags inside the apartment where he was staying.

County officials say they had trouble finding a cleaning crew willing to sanitize the residence, but late Thursday night, a crew was seen entering the apartment.

"We've used them in HIV/AIDS situations where we needed to do a cleanup and other blood-borne illness clean-up," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. "They use appropriate disinfectants, and are appropriately licensed to do that."

Jenkins said that crew will also be responsible for proper disposal of the contaminated bags.

Dallas County health officials are now monitoring the family inside that apartment for any sign of illness at least twice a day. The monitoring includes taking their temperatures to check for fever.

Dr. Christopher Perkins said he examined the family personally Wednesday night. He wore gloves and took other precautions against exposure, but he did not wear a full suit of protective gear, as seen in Ebola wards in Africa.

MORE: Dallas Co. sheriff's officers entered quarantined apartment

"In regards to going out and monitoring them, I do not perceive a personal threat," Dr. Perkins said of going in the apartment.

Perkins and Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson hand-delivered a strict public order to prevent the potential spread of disease. The order legally requires the family to stay at home and not have any visitors without approval from the local or state health department until at least October 19.

The health department had previously instructed the family to stay home, but the order was needed to ensure compliance. DISD confirmed that one of the school children ordered to stay home attended Tandy Middle School Wednesday morning, against health department requests.

A guard is now posted outside the residence, to insure compliance.

If someone else falls ill with a suspected case of Ebola, officials confirm they will likely be taken to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas by ambulance. Protocols have been put in place, though health officials declined to elaborate on the specifics of the protocols.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts are already on-hand at Texas Health Presbyterian, treating Duncan.

"Several of the folks on our team here have experience in Africa," said David Daigle of the CDC.

Daigle said his team will be divided between treatment, and investigation of people who had contact with the patient.

So far, no one who's had contact with the Ebola patient has shown any signs of illness.


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