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Relatives Moved Out Of Dallas Apartment Where Ebola Patient Visited

A patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for the Ebola virus, the first case to be diagnosed in the United States.
A patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for the Ebola virus, the first case to be diagnosed in the United States.

The Dallas family that lived in an apartment where a Liberian man fell ill with Ebola has been moved to a different home.

The family of four was seen being led from the apartment inVickeryMeadow late Friday afternoon. They were placed in a Dallas County deputy's patrol car and driven away. Their destination was not known.

Meanwhile, a hazardous-materials team worked through the day to decontaminate the home.

Thomas Eric Duncan was visiting from Liberia and staying with the family when he got sick. He was taken away by an ambulance Sunday. Duncan tested positive for Ebola and is in serious condition at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Liberia has been one of the countries hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

4 p.m.: Cleanup crew enters Vickery Meadow apartment where Ebola patient visited

A cleanup crew with yellow protective hazardous-materials suits has entered a Dallas apartment where a man infected with Ebola stayed before being hospitalized.

Members of the Cleaning Guys of Fort Worth pulled into the complex Friday with a 36-foot trailer hauling safety equipment, respirators and decontamination materials.

Dallas County Fire Marshal Robert De Los Santos says the crew will collect soiled linens, a mattress and the suitcase and personal items belonging to Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan.

He says they will be placed in industrial barrels then taken to a storage facility. They will then be hauled for disposal once authorities receive the proper permit to transport hazardous materials.

The family of four that lives in the apartment is quarantined and will remain there as the decontamination is done.

2:30 p.m.: Electronic scanners to be deployed at Dallas schools

The Associated Press reports: Electronic scanners are to be deployed at five Dallas schools where students who are under supervision after they were exposed to a man infected by the Ebola virus.

Dallas school district spokesman Andre Riley says the fever-screening monitors will be set up Monday morning in the nursing stations of the five schools under watch. He says the scanners will be used to screen for fever those children who become ill and are sent to the school nurses.

Unlike with thermometers, the scanners to be loaned the district by Dallas-based Wello Inc. will allow nurses to screen students for fevers without touching them, eliminating the risk of spreading illness or disease.

Riley says the monitors will remain in those schools for the next few weeks.

1:00 p.m.: Health officials are monitoring 50 people; 10 people are considered high-risk

Commissioner Dr. David Lakey with the Texas Department of State Health Services says local officials are monitoring 50 people closely, down from the 100 he said they were assessing yesterday.

“Most of those individuals are low risk,” Lakey said in a CDC briefing, “but about 10 individuals are considered high risk.”

Lakey would not comment on how many of those 50 were healthcare workers or family, but Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the high-risk individuals include some healthcare workers. The high-risk individuals will have their temperatures monitored twice daily, while the low-risk individuals will be required to self-check their temperatures.

Jenkins also addressed the clean-up process that was supposed to happen Wednesday at the Dallas apartment where a family has been quarantined. He said the contaminated items were not removed from the apartment yesterday because of permitting issues.

“The cleanup took so long because we do not have the permits in place to dispose of the soiled items,” said Jenkins. “I’d like to see [the family] moved to a place that’s a more complete living arrangement than what they have right now and we’re working on that.”

He also confirmed reports of a hazmat team cleaning the area and said a crew would be moving the waste today to a place away from the urban population. Once the city can get a permit from the Department of Transportation, the waste will then be moved and properly disposed of.

“I’m concerned about this family,” Jenkins said. “I don’t like that there’s been soiled items in their home with them.”

Jenkins said he paid a visit to the family last night, and reported that the contaminated items were bagged in one bedroom while the family members slept in other rooms. 

11:00 a.m.: Decontamination vehicles arrive at the apartment where the Ebola patient's family is being quarantined.

A hazardous materials crew has arrived at the Dallas apartment where the U.S. Ebola patient stayed to collect bed sheets and towels used by the infected man before he was hospitalized.

A fleet of vehicles from the fire department and other agencies arrived shortly before noon Friday.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says the decontamination will take about three hours. The family living there is quarantined and will remain in the apartment during the cleaning.

Items taken from both the apartment and from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Thomas Duncan is being treated, will be placed in secure containers and taken away for disposal.

Original post: A hazardous-materials crew planned to return today to the northeast Dallas apartment where the U.S. Ebola patient stayed to collect bed sheets and towels used by the infected man before he was hospitalized.The family living in the apartment has been confined to their home under armed guard while public-health officials monitor them - part of an intense effort to contain the deadly disease before it can get a foothold in the United States.

Louise Troh, who shares the apartment with her 13-year-old son and two nephews, told The Associated Press she is tired of being quarantined and wants authorities to decontaminate her home.

"Who wants to be locked up?" she said Thursday. Private security guards and sheriff's deputies blocked the entrance to the 300-unit apartment complex.

Dallas city spokesman Richard Hill said the crew had arrived Thursday evening after a severe thunderstorm and resulting power outage delayed the start of work at the apartment from which Thomas Eric Duncan was taken Sunday.

He says officials ultimately decided to hold off on the start of work until Friday to allow the crews to obtain permits for the hazmat cleanup and transportation of the removed hazardous materials. The family also had to be relocated before the cleanup started.

Meanwhile, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital says the man who has Ebola initially told an emergency room nurse that he had no contact with anyone who was ill when he was in Liberia.

The Dallas hospital discharged Thomas Eric Duncan after that Sept. 25 visit. He returned two days later on Sept. 27 via ambulance and was diagnosed with the deadly virus.

In a statement Thursday, the hospital says Duncan admitted he'd recently arrived from West Africa but denied he had been around anyone sick. Duncan's neighbors in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, have told The Associated Press that he helped a 19-year-old woman who has since died of Ebola.

The hospital says Duncan had a fever, headache, abdominal pain and decreased urination, but no vomiting or diarrhea. He is now isolated at the hospital in serious condition.

"Mr. Duncan’s symptoms were not severe at the time he first visited the hospital emergency department," the hospital said in a statement.

Duncan told a nurse on Sept. 25 that he had been in Africa -- information that was noted in the nursing portion of Duncan's electronic medical record.

But the travel history didn't appear in the record that hospital doctors accessed.  The travel history doesn't automatically appear in a doctor's standard workflow, the hospital said in a statement. There are separate nursing and physician workflows.

"As result of this discovery, Texas Health Dallas has relocated the travel history documentation to a portion of the EHR that is part of both workflows," hospital officials said. "It also has been modified to specifically reference Ebola-endemic regions in Africa."

Copyright 2020 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees , the station’s news website, and manages the station's . He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Krystina Martinez is an assistant producer at KERA. She wakes up bright and early to produce local content for Morning Edition and She also co-produces The Friday Conversation, a weekly interview segment with North Texas newsmakers.
Doualy Xaykaothao
Associated Press