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Officials in Dallas County on Thursday considered asking Gov. Rick Perry to issue a disaster declaration in response to Ebola, but decided that it would be unnecessary.

There have been three diagnosed cases of Ebola in the city of Dallas, which is in Dallas County: Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient in the U.S. who later died, and two nurses who treated him at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Instead of an emergency declaration — which could have freed up additional funds but would have restricted all citizens' movements — county execs said they would urge people who had some contact with Duncan to agree to monitor themselves, voluntarily restrict their travel and stay away from public places for 21 days.

“These are heroes. These aren't criminals, they aren't risks to the community," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said of the health workers who treated Duncan. "They don’t need to feel like they are others that we need to declare martial law on."

The Dallas hospital that treated Duncan has come under fire for its response to the virus. On Thursday morning, a nurse there, Briana Aguirre, told TODAY, "I watched them violate basic principles of nursing."


— Elizabeth Chuck