Cleveland Officials Address Ebola Fears
Toinette Parilla is City Director of Public Health. She emphasizes that there are currently no Ebola cases in the area. At the same time, she said she’s activated her department’s emergency command center.
“What that means is that I’ve activated are all of my appropriate team members who have very specific roles to meet at this command center for situation awareness,” said Parilla. “So that we are in contact communication, that we have up to date information to protect all of our Clevelanders and all of our visitors.”
Meanwhile, the CDC is working to connect with 132 passengers who were on the same Monday night flight as 29-year-old Amber Joy Vinson. They want anyone who flew on Frontier flight Number 1143 to contact them as soon as possible at 1-800-CDC-INFO.
Vinson is now being transferred to the CDC in Atlanta. She treated a Liberian man days before he died of Ebola in a Dallas hospital.
It’s unclear how she contracted the virus. Vinson tested positive the day after her return flight.
Vinson was in Akron planning a wedding over the weekend, and local officials believe she was not contagious during her flight home.
“And so any access or any travel through the airport facility be it the jet way or holdroom, at this point we have no reason to believe that those facilities were contaminated or infectious,” Ricky Smith, Director of the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, said at today’s press conference.
But Smith says the jet Vinson used to fly back to Dallas was disinfected twice, and has been deemed by both the CDC and Frontier Airlines as fit for service again.
For now, city officials remain busy. They’re doing their best to monitor the situation, while assuring residents that there are no active cases in the area.
Ed Eckart, Assistant Director of Public Safety, says one response for the City of Cleveland’s police, fire, and EMS personnel is to have a surveillance tracking tool assigned to every 9-1-1 call that involves a potential Ebola case.
“If patients meet certain criteria of illnesses or symptoms of illnesses they’ll be asked some special questions that help us track and determine if somebody may have either been exposed or may have the symptoms that would indicate that they are actually contaminated.”
Meanwhile, medical records provided to The Associated Press by Thomas Eric Duncan's family show Amber Joy Vinson inserted catheters, drew blood, and dealt with Duncan's body fluids before he died last week.
And Kent State says three employees are related to a Vinson, who visited family in Ohio and flew from Cleveland to Dallas shortly before she was diagnosed Wednesday.
A university statement says the woman is a graduate of Kent State, receiving degrees in 2006 and 2008, but didn't visit the college's campus on her most recent visit.