Numerous health care workers were possibly exposed to the Ebola virus while aboard the same flight from Dallas to Cleveland as the second US Ebola patient, according to reports.
Nurses from several Cleveland area hospitals were distressed to receive phone calls yesterday from their employers informing them that they had boarded a flight along with 29-year-old Amber Vinson, the second US patient diagnosed with having the deadly virus.
The nurses reportedly worked at the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth System and Aultman Hospitals respectively.
One nurse’s husband told Fox News Cleveland his wife was not informed until late Wednesday afternoon.
“Cleveland clinic called earlier and told her not to come to work for at least the next 11 days,” the man told Fox.
The nurse’s husband said his wife was among about seven other health workers who were all being placed on paid leave while they are monitored for the early symptoms of the virus.
The following statement was released yesterday by the Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth System:
“Today, we learned that Cleveland Clinic and The MetroHealth System had employees – mostly nurses – aboard the Frontier flight from Dallas to Cleveland on October 10, returning from a nursing conference in Texas. That flight included the Dallas nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola when she returned to Dallas on October 13.
Both health systems have put all of our employees who were on that flight on paid leave while we will monitor their health daily. We are confident that these nurses are at low risk of exposure since we understand that the Dallas nurse did not have symptoms at the time. We have taken this measure as an extra precautionary step for our employees, patients, and visitors.
Cleveland Clinic, The MetroHealth System, and University Hospitals will be working closely together to keep our community safe and to work toward preventing the spread of the Ebola virus.”
News that even more health professionals could have attended work while possibly infected comes amid developments that the CDC is seeking to question all 132 passengers aboard Vinson’s Dallas bound flight, which also made trips to Ft. Lauderdale and Atlanta, in addition to Cleveland.
The fact that health authorities have asked the nurses to stay home, despite CDC officials declaring yesterday that the disease could not be contracted, but instead only transmitted, by passengers on buses illustrates government officials’ utter confusion over the deadly virus, which only serves to fuel public panic.