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Ebola Blog: 76 Presbyterian Hospital Workers Being Monitored For Ebola Symptoms

Nina Pham is the Dallas nurse infected with the Ebola virus.

[We will update this post throughout the day.] Federal health officials say they've identified 76 hospital workers who may have been exposed to the first Ebola patient in Dallas.

Those workers are being “actively monitored” each day for fever and symptoms, officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

But it doesn't mean the workers were exposed to the virus, officials say.

The first patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, died last week at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The second patient with Ebola, Nina Pham, is a nurse who treated Duncan. She remains in isolation at Presbyterian. The hospital says she's in good condition.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that two nurses from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta are now in Dallas to monitor health workers at Presbyterian, "looking at every detail of infection control," said Dr. Tom Frieden, the CDC director.

Frieden did acknowledge that the CDC could have sent "a more robust hospital control team" to Presbyterian when tests confirmed Duncan had Ebola. That might have prevented Pham from becoming infected, Frieden said. 

"We should have put an even larger team on the ground immediately, and we'll do that from now on anytime there is a confirmed case," Frieden said. 

Pham had been in contact with one person -- that individual hasn't shown any Ebola symptoms, CDC officials say. Dallas animal shelter officials rescued Pham's dog Monday afternoon. 

Meanwhile, 48 people who may have been in contact with Duncan before he arrived at Presbyterian continue to be monitored. None have shown Ebola symptoms, officials say. Frieden says those 48 contacts are two-thirds of the way through a 21-day monitoring period. Most Ebola cases develop within the first eight to 10 days. 

That means it's much less likely that the 48 contacts will develop Ebola symptoms, but monitoring will continue. 

Federal officials have yet to determine how Pham got infected. But they continue to examine Duncan's treatment to look for clues.

The CDC held a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

This livestream comes from PBS:

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

5:48 p.m. Dallas County has spent $1 million on Ebola

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said today that the county has already spent $1 million on Ebola, through overtime for staff, contracts with cleaning companies, and the county’s emergency operations center.

“What I have been told by both the state and federal government is not to let money stand in the way of getting this done. It’s very important that this be stopped,” Jenkins said. 

KERA's Dianna Douglas takes a look at Ebola's financial impact -- for the county and for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

3:45 p.m. How to support Nina Pham

A fund has been established to help support Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse with Ebola. Here's a link to the fund.

The costs for Pham's care at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas will be covered and "will not be a financial burden for Nina or her family," the hospital said in a statement. 

Want to send a message to Pham? Use the "Email a patient"link at Texas Health Resources' website.

11:45 a.m. Dallas nurse with Ebola says she's "doing well"

The Dallas nurse infected with Ebola says in a statement that she's "doing well," and her hospital remains optimistic about her recovery.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas released a statement on Nina Pham's behalf Tuesday as she is treated for Ebola that she contracted while caring for a Liberian man who died from the disease.

In the statement, Pham says she wants "to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers."

Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan says the doctors and nurses involved with Pham's treatment "remain hopeful" about her recovery.

Pham has been given plasma to fight the virus taken from the blood of a doctor who beat the disease.

The Rev. Jim Khoi, pastor of the Fort Worth church attended by Pham's family, said she received a transfusion of plasma containing Ebola-fighting antibodies Monday afternoon.

Samaritan's Purse confirmed the plasma came from Dr. Kent Brantly, the Texas doctor who survived Ebola. Brantly contracted Ebola while working with the nonprofit medical mission group in Liberia.

Samaritan's Purse spokesman Jeremy Blume says Brantly traveled to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas Sunday to donate the plasma.

Brantly said in a recent speech that he also offered his blood to Thomas Eric Duncan, but that their blood types didn't match. Duncan died of Ebola last week in Dallas.

Here's Pham's complete statement: “I’m doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers. I am blessed by the support of family and friends and am blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world here at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.”

11:35 a.m. Officials release 911 call from Duncan's relatives

A woman calling 911 to summon an ambulance for a man who later died of Ebola described him as vomiting at a Dallas apartment.

Dallas officials have released the Sept. 28 call by Youngor Jallah, whose mother dated Thomas Eric Duncan.

Jallah doesn't identify herself, but tells a dispatcher that "my daddy is throwing up" and "he's got a fever."

Jallah told The Associated Press that she made the call and referred to Duncan as "daddy" because he was in a relationship with her mother. Jallah is not related to Duncan, who died last Wednesday at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. 

Dallas Fire-Rescue Lt. Joel Lavender said Tuesday that the caller had a thick accent and the dispatcher, who's heard asking her to repeat details, did a good job.

Listen to the 911 call from Thomas Eric Duncan's family.

11:05 a.m. State task force to hold public hearing Oct. 23

Members of a Texas task force on Ebola have scheduled their first public hearing as a nurse who contracted the disease remains hospitalized in Dallas.

The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response convenes Oct. 23 at the State Capitol in Austin.

The 15-member panel will hear invited testimony from expert witnesses involved in infectious disease identification and response.

Nurse Nina Pham was among about 70 staffers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan. He died last Wednesday.

Gov. Rick Perry days earlier created the task force to develop recommendations and a comprehensive state plan to deal with emerging infectious diseases. An initial draft is expected Dec. 1. The proposal goes to Perry and to the 2015 Legislature. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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 digital news projects. 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.