Texas Health Care Workers Who Treated Ebola Patient Told to Stay Out of Public Places

Approximately 70 Dallas hospital employees affected by order.

October 17, 2014, 5:36 PM

— -- Hospital workers who treated the Ebola patient who died at a Texas hospital are being asked to stay away from any public space for 21 days.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has asked the approximately 70 health care workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who entered the room of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan to stay home while they are being monitored during the 21-day Ebola incubation period.

Currently, health care workers are being asked to sign a written acknowledgement that they will not enter a public place. However, if they violate that agreement or refuse to sign it, the state could pursue a court order, which would force them to stay in their home in isolation during the allotted time.

The three-week time frame is due to the approximate incubation period of the Ebola virus, which is 2 to 21 days.

The agreement states that the health care worker will not use public transportation, including a plane, bus or train, and will also not enter any kind of public space, including grocery stores and restaurants.

Two nurses from the Texas Health Presbyterian were infected after treating Duncan earlier this month. One nurse, Amber Vinson, traveled by plane to Cleveland for a trip to plan her wedding. Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that she might have started feeling ill before her first flight and authorities are now working to identify hundreds of passengers who were on the flights with her and could possibly be exposed to the virus.

Duncan's family members were ordered to remain in quarantine by court order, after they temporarily left their home before it had been sanitized.