DALLAS (AP) — A dated yearbook picture of a smiling young woman has become the latest face of Ebola.
The high school picture of Amber Joy Vinson spread across the country after the 29-year-old nurse was confirmed with the virus Wednesday. But beyond the image of her with a wide grin, tipped head and shiny pink blouse, she left little footprint before making headlines.
Vinson lived in Akron, Ohio, and went to Kent State University, where she received degrees in 2006 and 2008, the university said. She was licensed as a registered nurse in Ohio on February 2, 2009, and remains licensed there, records show, though she has since moved to Dallas. She became an R.N. in Texas on August 22, 2012.
Vinson lived in an unpretentious rental in The Village, a sprawling series of apartment buildings popular with young professionals and other Dallas newcomers. It’s been the home to countless other workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, which is just 2 miles away, including other people on the team that cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient who died Oct. 8. That apartment complex is being decontaminated, reports say.
Medical records provided to The Associated Press by Duncan’s family show Vinson inserted catheters, drew blood and dealt with the patient’s body fluids. But little else has emerged about the nurse — no obvious profiles on Facebook or LinkedIn, no flood of pictures documenting her life. It has been reported that Vinson traveled from Dallas to Ohio to see family members, including her fiancee as she was in the midst of planning her wedding.
Vinson, 29, also says that although she had a low-grade fever, the CDC told her it was okay to fly, although CDC director has said that she shouldn’t have boarded a commercial flight.
According to CBS News, Vinson did reach out to the CDC with her concerns but was told that her low-grade fever did not reach the contamination threshold.
“This nurse, Nurse Vinson, did in fact call the CDC several times before taking that flight and said she has a temperature, a fever of 99.5, and the person at the CDC looked at a chart and because her temperature wasn’t 100.4 or higher she didn’t officially fall into the category of high risk.”
Vinson visited her fiancee, as yet unidentified and relatives who work at Kent State. The University says that while she never stepped foot on the campus, her three relatives have been asked to remain home for the next 21 days out of “an abundance of caution,” reports CBS. Passengers on the the Frontier Airlines flight that Vinson took to Cleveland are being contacted, not because it’s believed that they are at serious risk, but to make sure that they are monitored just in case.
The airline issued a statement:
“At approximately 1:00 a.m. MT on October 15, Frontier was notified by the CDC that a customer traveling on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on Oct. 13 has since tested positive for the Ebola virus. The flight landed in Dallas/Fort Worth at 8:16 p.m. local and remained overnight at the airport having completed its flying for the day at which point the aircraft received a thorough cleaning per our normal procedures which is consistent with CDC guidelines prior to returning to service the next day. It was also cleaned again in Cleveland last night. Previously the customer had traveled from Dallas Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier flight 1142 on October 10.
Customer exhibited no symptoms or sign of illness while on flight 1143, according to the crew. Frontier responded immediately upon notification from the CDC by removing the aircraft from service and is working closely with CDC to identify and contact customers who may traveled on flight 1143.
Customers who may have traveled on either flight should contact CDC at 1 800 CDC-INFO.
The safety and security of our customers and employees is our primary concern. Frontier will continue to work closely with CDC and other governmental agencies to ensure proper protocols and procedures are being followed.”
The most compelling image of Vinson flashed on TV screens Wednesday afternoon, when an ambulance with a crew clad in hazardous-material suits arrived at Presbyterian to head to Dallas Love Field.
There, aerial video showed the crew leading a person in a yellow hazmat suit and booties onto a jet. A statement from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta confirmed Vinson would be transferred there; a Presbyterian spokesman declined to confirm she had departed.