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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The last day that anyone in Dallas was monitored for Ebola symptoms received attention from both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.
Late Friday, the White House announced President Obama joined in the sense of relief and gratitude that the 21 day period of monitoring came to an end Friday.
The White House said, “The President extended his appreciation to local public health officials as well as to the people of Dallas whose strength and resilience helped reassure the nation.”
He delivered his message during a phone call Friday afternoon with Governor Rick Perry, Texas Health Commissioner Dr. David Lakey, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.
The President told them state and local health officials cooperation with their federal counterparts has now emerged as a national model.
President Obama also said nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson heroically tended to patient Thomas Duncan before he died. While the nurses each contracted the virus from Duncan, they have now been declared Ebola-free.
Friday also served as a memorable day at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas where former President George W. Bush paid a visit. In a video released late Friday afternoon, Mr. Bush could be seen walking the halls with doctors and nurses who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, who later died. At one point, the former President asked, “How’s everybody doing?”
Those there answered, “Great!” Among those Mr. Bush spoke with include nurse Vinson. In one photo the hospital released, the two shared a smile and a laugh.
The former President gave the hospital a pep talk of sorts after this very trying time. He said, “As someone who has gone to Presbyterian hospital for care myself, I know it is a dedicated, professional, and caring place, and I’m confident it is doing what is necessary to reaffirm the community’s trust.”
Mr. Bush also said he appreciates the fact that the hospital is sharing lessons learned that will help the rest of the country’s health care community. Many people around Dallas feel a sense of relief the community is now Ebola-free. Among them, is Jessica Domingo, who remembers all the commotion early one morning in October outside her apartment window.
She says she saw two guys in hazmat suits spraying down the sidewalk near her home, in the Bend East Apartments where Vinson lived.
Domingo said she realized, “I was like (gasps) Ebola, oh my God, it’s Ebola. We were scared.”
Now nearly one month later, Domingo says she and her family are relieved, and thankful no one else here has contracted the virus.
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