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Hazmat team cleans quarantined apartment
02:18 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: DA's office: A "criminal matter" if Duncan "knowingly ... exposed" public to Ebola

Crews have begun cleaning the apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan stayed

County official: 4 quarantined were "very pleased" to move into 4-bedroom home

U.S. official: "The United States is well-equipped to stop Ebola in its tracks"

Dallas, Texas CNN  — 

A Dallas apartment where the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States had stayed is finally getting a thorough cleaning, days after the diagnosis left four people quarantined there with soiled towels and sweat-stained sheets from the Ebola patient.

After some delays, the first of three phases to clean the apartment began Friday afternoon. While the process will take days, at least sheets and towels that Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan used have been removed.

Also out are the four people – the partner of the Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, her 13-year-old son and her two 20-something nephews – who’d been stuck there for days.

They had been ordered to stay inside the apartment until October 19. By that point, enough time should have passed to determine if any of them contracted Ebola or if they’re in the clear.

Judge Clay Jenkins, director of the county’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said Friday that Duncan’s partner slept last night on a couch pillow on the living room floor. But now she and the others have a new place to call home in the meantime: a private 4-bedroom residence in Dallas, which was arranged with the help of someone in the local faith-based community.

“They were very glad to be going and very pleased when they got there,” Jenkins said. “(One of them) got a big grin on his face, and he said, ‘I wish somebody would get me a basketball.’ So we’re going to see if we can’t take care of that.”

The move added to a busy day for the quartet, who until then had gotten little more than brief stops from a health official and were told not to go more than a few steps outside. On Friday, they were visited by a hazardous materials team wearing masks, boots and yellow protective gear, as seen in photos