Ebola in Dallas: October 21

With 17 days until the last person in direct contact with one of Dallas' three Ebola patients finishes monitoring, here's the latest:

The condition of the patients: Amber Vinson's mother, Debra Berry, discussed her daughter's condition on Good Morning America early Tuesday. Mom says Vinson remains weak, but is doing OK and focused on getting better. Berry told the morning show that it's been difficult for her and her family to comprehend her daughter's situation.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Nina Pham has been upgraded from fair to good condition by doctors at the National Institutes of Health. Bentley, her dog, gave his first sample to be tested for Ebola this morning. He has shown no symptoms and still appears to be a very good boy. Perry announces procedure for potential future Ebola cases: Governor Rick Perry announced Tuesday that any future Ebola cases will be treated at UTMB Galveston or at Methodist Richardson. Patients in Richardson would see UT Southwestern doctors and have their lab work done at Parkland's lab. WFAA's Janet St. James also reports that Parkland will provide a 50-person unit for quick Ebola response. Perry says the new setups will be ready in the next 24 hours. The new facilities are part of a plan by the newly formed Texas Task Force on Infectious Diseases, led by Dr. Brett Giroir.

New CDC Ebola protocols: Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new set of guidelines for the treatment of potential Ebola patients. Most important, the new rules call for no exposed skin when treating potential Ebola and guide the removal of protective gear, one of the most dangerous actions for caretakers.

Dallas County HHS update: DCHHS director Zach Thompson says that 31 of the 37 people with direct exposure to someone with Ebola have cleared monitoring. Eight of 67 people who were possible exposed have done the same. During the same briefing, County Judge Clay Jenkins informed the commissioner's court that those under monitoring through election day would be allowed to vote from home after a special dispensation from Governor Perry. Jenkins went on to say that he believes the county is winning the fight against Ebola.

Finally, here's an interview with Richard Preston: Preston wrote The Hot Zone, the non-fiction book that inspired Outbreak.

Update: 4:39 p.m.: The City of Dallas has launched a new information campaign it's calling KnowEbola. Literature and information was provided to residents near the conference center in Oak Cliff where Louise Troh, the fiance of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola index patient, is staying. A domain has been registered, and city spokeswoman Sana Syed promises there is more to come in the coming days. Better late than never.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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