By Giles Hudson | CBSDFW.COM

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Five weeks after Dallas County became the epicenter of the nation’s Ebola crisis, the county enters Friday with no new cases reported and everyone off the disease watch list.

“Thanksgiving comes early to Dallas County because …. we are Ebola-free,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement Thursday.  “It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our hometown healthcare heroes and the city, county, and school district employees that worked so hard, along with our state and federal partners, to keep us safe during the Ebola crisis.”

A total of 177 people were on the watch list, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.  That list included health care workers along with family and friends of the victims and people in the community who might have been exposed.

The last person being monitored was a hospital worker who handled medical waste Oct. 17, the agency said.

Complete Coverage Of Ebola In North Texas

“We’re happy to reach this milestone, but our guard stays up,” said state health commissioner Dr. David Lakey.  “We reached this point through teamwork and meticulous monitoring, and we’ll continue to be vigilant to protect Texas from Ebola.”

Texas also recently cleared the people who were being monitored because they were passengers on one of the DFW to Cleveland flights that carried Dallas nurse Amber Vinson just before she was diagnosed with Ebola.

“It continues to be a time of healing for those most affected, and they stay in my thoughts and prayers,” Jenkins said. “On behalf of everyone in the local government, thank you citizens of Dallas County and particularly the faith, medical, and philanthropic community for your tremendous support during a critical time.”

The state said it will continue to monitor travelers who return to Texas from countries with widespread Ebola outbreaks.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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