The Dallas County deputy who tested negative for Ebola this week said Friday that the results were a “breath of fresh air.”
Michael Monnig and his wife, Lisa Monnig, described the brief Ebola scare in a news conference.
Monnig said he was one of four Dallas deputies who — unprotected — entered the apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan lived while he was ill with the Ebola virus. Duncan died Wednesday.
Before the apartment visit, the deputies met with Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson and Dallas County medical director Chris Perkins to stage how they would enter the apartment to ensure their safety.
Monnig said he went inside the Vickery Meadow apartment first “just to make sure it was safe.” He switched on the light and saw Louise Troh’s family for the first time.
“It was clear that they were scared. They had questions. They weren’t sure what was happening from minute to minute,” he said.
After the visit, health officials told the deputies about possible signs of Ebola and told them to call if they had any health problems.
On Wednesday of this week, Monnig said he woke up “feeling like a truck hit me.” He called Perkins, who told him to go to a primary care doctor or a clinic.
He went to a Care Now clinic in Frisco and was taken to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas by paramedics dressed in protective clothing.
He had a temperature of 101.7 degrees when he arrived at the hospital, Monnig said.
“I saw the two nurses look at each other after they saw the temperature reading,” he recalled. “That’s when I thought, ‘This is it.’”
Monnig and other deputies who entered the apartment were not among the 48 people being monitored for Ebola symptoms because they did not come in contact with Duncan.
After tests cleared him of Ebola, doctors diagnosed him with a viral infection. He was released from Presbyterian soon after.
Monnig said he doesn’t regret going into the apartment because he believes his order to do so wasn’t “illegal, unethical or immoral.”
While he understands that Ebola is a new disease on American soil, he said he hopes there will be better protocols in place in the future so deputies know what they’re getting into and how to deal with the aftermath.
“This was all new to all of us, the sheriff, the health department,” he said. “I think there was a lot of stuff that was happening on the fly. I think in the future, let’s take a step back.”