Over the weekend, Amber Vinson was in Ohio to plan her wedding. Today, the 29-year-old nurse is hospitalized in Atlanta, fighting the Ebola virus. What a difference a few days can make. Vinson is the only the second person known to have contracted the deadly disease inside the United States.
Both she and Nina Pham are nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, who treated Thomas Eric Duncan when he was hospitalized for Ebola in late September. He died October 8. Though she lives in Texas, Vinson grew up in Ohio, and flew there over the weekend to visit family and take care of a few wedding plans.
Vinson and her friends visited the shop Saturday. Younker said Vinson did not appear sick then, and was a great customer.
However, she now wonders: “How did you not think this through? You know, if you’re supposed to be quarantined, you’re at a hospital where the Ebola is alive, what made you think it’s OK to get on a plane?”
‘Ill but clinically stable’
The day before Vinson went to the hospital with Ebola symptoms, she flew halfway across the country on a commercial jet with 132 other people.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said she never should have set foot on the flight, but another federal official told CNN that no one at the agency stopped her.
Before flying from Cleveland to Dallas on Monday, Vinson called the CDC to report an elevated temperature of 99.5 Fahrenheit. She informed the agency that she was getting on a plane, the official said, and she wasn’t told not to board the aircraft.
She was transferred Wednesday from the Dallas hospital to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which has successfully treated two other Ebola patients.
Vinson is “ill but clinically stable,” Frieden said.
‘A real sweetheart’
Not much is known yet about who Vinson is.
She lives by herself and does not own any pets, according to CNN affiliate WEWS.
She attended Firestone High School and has her nursing license in Ohio and Texas, the affiliate said. Vinson is also an alumni of Kent State University, where three close relatives are employed.
“While she was in the area over the weekend, she herself did not come to the Kent campus, but she did interact with her relatives. They returned to the Kent campus to work earlier this week, but once they learned of her illness in Dallas, they left the campus,” Kent State spokesman Eric Mansfield told CNN.
“They’re going to stay away from the campus for 21 days and self monitor on their own,” he said.
Family members have asked for privacy and police have put up yellow tape around their house to prevent anyone from approaching.
A family friend described Vinson as compassionate.
“She’s a wonderful young lady, very quiet girl growing up. But she’s a real sweetheart,” Lory Harris told CNN affiliate WFAA.
“That’s all I remember her as — a sweetheart,” Harris said.
By Dana Ford
Susan Candiotti, Don Lemon and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.