iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — The family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed in the U.S., is in a new home after leaving their apartment in Dallas on Friday night.
While the family remains in quarantine, clean-up crews returned to the apartment Saturday to continue sanitizing.
Duncan, who was visiting family in the U.S. after arriving from Liberia, was diagnosed with Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas last Sunday, three days after he initially went to the hospital but was released. He remains in serious condition in an isolation ward.
Health officials are monitoring about 50 people who may have had contact with Duncan, including 9 of those believed to be at “high risk” for exposure.
Here’s what we know about the case:
Hospital Says Duncan’s Records Were Available to Entire Staff
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said Friday that its entire staff had access to Duncan’s electronic health records, including his travel history, days after blaming a flaw in physician and nursing workflows as the reason he was initially released.
Duncan arrived at the emergency room on September 25 with a low-grade fever and complained of abdominal pain. Although he disclosed to a nurse he had traveled from Liberia, he was still released with antibiotics rather than being put into an isolation ward at the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Friday, the hospital issued a statement saying that the entire team treating Duncan had access to the information about his travel history and denied that there was a flaw in the way its physician and nursing workflow interacted.
“As a standard part of the nursing process, the patient’s travel history was documented and available to the full care team in the electronic health record (EHR), including within the physician’s workflow,” read the statement. “There was no flaw in the EHR in the way the physician and nursing portions interacted related to this event.”
Duncan Could Face Charges
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday it is looking into whether charges should be brought against Duncan, according to ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas.
Officials will examine if Duncan’s actions could constitute criminal activity by putting public health at risk.
“We are looking into whether or not Duncan knowingly and intentionally exposed the public to a deadly virus, making this a criminal matter for Dallas County,” spokesperson Debbie Denmon told WFAA in an email.
Duncan’s nephew Joe Weeks told ABC News that Duncan seemed to be growing weaker in recent days.
“At first we were able to talk to him on the phone, but now he is just too sick to speak,” said Weeks.
Relatives of Duncan Moved to Undisclosed Location
Relatives of Duncan were moved to an undisclosed location within the city of limits of Dallas on Friday.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told reporters the family was moved to a four-bedroom house of which the use was given to them by an anonymous donor in the “faith-based community.”
Judge Clay Jenkins and Rawlings told reporters the donor was a friend whom they called for help. The house is in a gated community.
“They’ve got room to move,” Jenkins said of the family, which is under quarantine and can’t leave the property.
The family had been in the same apartment where Duncan became ill late last week. It includes two men, a 13-year-old boy named Timothy, and a woman named Louise Troh, who traveled with Duncan from Liberia and has been referred to as Duncan’s wife by other family members.
Jenkins had ordered the family to stay at the apartment as part of quarantine measures to ensure the virus didn’t spread.
On Friday, a team entered the home to decontaminate any surface that Duncan may have contaminated. The family will remain in quarantine for at least 21 days.
Ebola Clean Up to Cost $65,000
The cost to decontaminate the apartment will cost about $65,000, according to local government officials in Dallas. The state of Texas will cover the cost.
On Friday, a special team of cleaners began cleaning and removing infected materials, including mattresses, sheets and towels, from the home. Those linens will be sealed in plastic barrels, placed in a sealed tractor and later incinerated.
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency permit Friday allowing all Ebola-contaminated materials to moved so they can be incinerated.
Read More →
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio