Judge Clay Jenkins had driven family members of the Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan to a new location last week. Jenkins was shown on television news entering the apartment with no gloves, no gown and in plainclothes. Jenkins worked even as a cleanup crew cleaned the apartment, dressed in full hazmat gear.
Jenkins appeared later at a news conference wearing the same pale purple shirt, announcing that he had no fear of contracting the virus and was so confident that he was “going home to his wife and daughter.”
He said his actions were to help quell the public’s fear of the disease, which is infectious only when an infected person is symptomatic.
Monday night, David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of Health Services, issued a statement saying that Jenkins’ recent interaction with the family members of the Ebola patient “did not pose a risk to Judge Jenkins or others.” Lakey reiterated that Ebola is spread by only direct contact with an individual who is symptomatic.
Also Monday night, a CDC official released a letter saying that Jenkins had put no one at harm with his actions.
“The household members had been actively monitored that day as contacts of the Ebola patient in Dallas and were known to be afebrile and asymptomatic,” CDC manager Inger Damon wrote. “They were neither ill, nor infectious. Judge Jenkins’ action and moving them posed no danger of Ebola to himself or to anyone else and was consistent with good public health practice.”
[This post has been updated.]