DALLAS (CNN) — About 10 people are at “higher risk” of catching Ebola after coming into contact with a Liberian man hospitalized in Dallas, health officials said.
The group is among 50 people being monitored daily, but the other 40 are considered “low risk,” said Dr. David Lakey, the commissioner of Texas department of state health services.
Health officials did not provide details on the location of those being monitored or where they interacted with Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan.
Monitoring includes a visit from a public health expert and temperature checks twice a day. None of them has had symptoms of Ebola so far, according to Lakey.
The latest figure is a drastic reduction of a number that started at 100 after initial talks with Duncan and hospital officials.
Duncan landed in Dallas on September 20, and started feeling sick days later. He made his initial visit to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 25.
He was released with antibiotics, but went back three days later and was quickly isolated. A blood test confirmed he had Ebola on Tuesday, the first case of the deadly virus diagnosed on American soil.
Relocated to undisclosed location
“We’ve been very busy the last 24 hours trying to make sure that everyone who has had potential exposure is identified and they have been evaluated,” Lakey said.
The high-risk list likely includes Duncan’s partner, Louise, her 13-year-old son and her two 20-something nephews. The four had been holed up in the apartment Duncan lived in before he was hospitalized.
They were relocated to an undisclosed place Friday, and will be required to stay there until October 19. The incubation period — time between Ebola infection and the onset of symptoms — ranges between two to 21 days.
The Dallas hospital where Duncan is being treated has come under fire for its handling of his first visit there eight days ago.
Louise, who does not want her last name used, said Duncan told hospital staff he had a fever and abdominal pain, and had recently arrived from Liberia — key information that could have been a tipoff for Ebola.
The hospital defended its handling of the case.
“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, including within the physician’s workflow,” it said in a statement.
Plans to get married
The church Louise attends said Duncan came to the United States so the two could get married.
Louise told the church’s senior pastor, George Mason, about their marriage plan, according to Mark Wingfield, a spokesman at the Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.
Other Ebola scares
As nervous Dallas residents watch Duncan’s case unfold, more Ebola scares are coming up in other parts of the nation.
Howard University Hospital in Washington said it has admitted a low-risk patient with symptoms that could be associated with Ebola. The unnamed patient had recently traveled to Nigeria, and is in stable condition.
In Liberia, NBC News freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo was diagnosed with Ebola on Thursday, and is expected to leave Monrovia for the United States on Sunday aboard a private charter plane.
In addition to Guinea and Sierra Leone, Liberia is one of three nations battling the deadly virus that has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa.