80 People May Have Been Exposed To Ebola By Texas Patient, Numbers Climbing Officials Say [Breaking]

Tara West

The number of people possibly exposed to the Texas Ebola patient has risen from 18 to approximately 80.

NBC reports that the news outlet has confirmed with the Dallas county health and human services that 80 people came into contact with the Dallas Ebola patient or his family. Director Zachary Thompson said these 80 people were not in close contact, but they did have some kind of contact with or exposure to the patient.

Texas health officials have also ordered four family members who had close contact with the Dallas Ebola patient to stay home and not have visitors to prevent the potential spread of disease. The order was hand delivered to Thomas Eric Duncan's relatives Wednesday night by Texas Department of Health Services officials. The order legally requires the family to comply until at least October 19, when the incubation period has passed and the family is no longer at risk of having the disease.

The order also states that the family must provide blood samples and agree to any testing for the virus required by the health officials.

David Lakey, Texas health commissioner, told Reuters they are trying to protect the public.

"We have tried and true protocols to protect the public and stop the spread of this disease. This order gives us the ability to monitor the situation in the most meticulous way."