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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who was infected with the Ebola virus while treating Thomas Duncan, is now free of the deadly virus.

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Pham will now be headed back to North Texas from Maryland where she had been receiving treatment at the National Institutes of Health facility in Bethesda.

Before she comes home, Pham met with President Obama in the Oval Office, where she received a hearty hug.

Pham’s mother and sister, Diana and Catherine Pham, along with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Pham’s primary doctor Dr. Richard Davey Jr., Drs. Anthony Fauci and Cliff Lane from NIH were present for the meeting.

US President Barack Obama hugs nurse Nina Pham, who was declared free of the Ebola virus after contracting the disease while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas, during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 24, 2014. (credit: Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama hugs nurse Nina Pham, who was declared free of the Ebola virus after contracting the disease while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas, during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 24, 2014. (credit: Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama hugs nurse Nina Pham, who was declared free of the Ebola virus after contracting the disease while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas, during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 24, 2014.  (credit: Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama hugs nurse Nina Pham, who was declared free of the Ebola virus after contracting the disease while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas, during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 24, 2014. (credit: Getty Images)

CBS 11 talked to Pham’s dad about the news, who said his daughter may be coming home to North Texas as early as today.

“I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today,” said Pham, while surrounded by her mother, her sister and NIH doctors at a Friday morning news conference.  “I am on my way back to recovery, even as I reflect on how many others who have not been so fortunate.”

Complete Coverage Of Ebola In North Texas

Pham thanked God, her family, friends, and all the people on the medical teams that took care of her in Texas and Maryland.  “I would especially like to thank Dr. Kent Brantly for the selfless act of donating plasma to me,” said Pham.

She also thanked everyone for their prayers and offered her own to her colleague Amber Vinson and Dr. Craig Spencer, who is being treated for the disease in New York.

“I hope that people understand that this illness and this whole experience has been very stressful and challenging for me and for my family.  Although I no longer have Ebola, I know that it may be awhile before I have my strength back. So with gratitude and respect for everyone’s concern, I ask for my privacy and for my family’s privacy to be respected, as I return to Texas and try to get back to a normal life and reunite with my dog Bentley,” she said with a huge smile.

According to a statement released by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins that reunion will come very soon.  “Although Bentley remains under quarantine until the end of the month, Nina will be able to visit, hold and play with him tomorrow. I know that will be good for both of them.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the NIH, gave Pham a hug and told reporters that five consecutive tests showed no virus left in her blood. Five tests is way beyond the norm, he stressed, but his team did extra testing because the NIH is a research hospital.

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“She is cured of Ebola, let’s get that clear,” Fauci said.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas released the following statement about Pham’s recovery:

“The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas family is thrilled that Nina Pham is Ebola-free and on her way home.  Her colleagues and friends eagerly look forward to welcoming her back.  Her courage and spirit, first in treating a critically ill Ebola patient and then in winning her own battle against the disease, has truly inspired all of us.”

Last week, before she was transferred from North Texas, Texas Presbyterian Hospital posted this video to YouTube.  It shows Pham in good spirits, expressing her love for her co-workers and inviting everyone to come party with her in Maryland.

Pham is one of two nurses in Dallas who became infected with Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of the virus Oct. 8.

The second nurse, Amber Vinson, is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which on Friday issued a statement saying she “is making good progress” and that tests no longer detect virus in her blood. But Emory said it had no discharge date for Vinson yet, as she continues to receive supportive care.  Vinson’s family issued a statement Wednesday evening, which said she was regaining her strength and doctors were no longer able to detect the virus in her body.

This is a developing story.  Refresh this article for the latest information.

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