Vinson family asks for privacy; details about infected nurse’s day revealed

Photo taken from

Audrey Fletcher

The family of Amber Joy Vinson, the third person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., issued a statement Thursday night through Kent State University.

“Our family has been overwhelmed with support and love for Amber and our extended family over the last 72 hours, and we thank you for those prayers and well wishes,” said Lawrence Vinson, Vinson’s uncle and family spokesman, in the statement from Kent State.

Vinson, a Kent State graduate, was visiting relatives in Tallmadge over the weekend. Upon her return to Dallas, she was diagnosed with the Ebola virus

Lawrence Vinson said in the statement that Vinson is stable, and the family is continuing to work with her doctors as her treatment progresses.

“Amber is a respected professional and has always had a strong passion for nursing,” Lawrence Vinson said in the statement. “She followed all of the protocols necessary when treating a patient in Dallas, and right now, she’s trusting her doctors and nurses as she is now the patient.”

He finished the statement by asking that the media respect the privacy of Vinson and her family.

Debra Berry, the senior assistant to Kent State President Beverly Warren and Vinson’s mother, and two other unidentified Kent State employees have been asked by the university to stay home for the next 21 days to self-monitor.

According to the Associated Press, Marguerite Erme, the Summit County Public Health medical director said they were told Berry was being quarantined in Dallas, where she went to be with her daughter.

In a TV interview with CNN on Thursday night, Lawrence Vinson said Vinson did not directly speak with a CDC official before flying. He said she spoke to a Texas health worker and told that person what her temperature was. Lawrence Vinson said the health worker told Vinson after making multiple calls to the CDC that she was OK to fly.

Lawrence Vinson said in the CNN interview that Vinson did not feel as though she was putting anyone in danger by traveling.

“They were given gear that was supposed to provide isolation, and they were given protocols to follow that they believed would protect them,” Lawrence Vinson said in the interview.

At the Summit County Public Health media briefing Thursday, Chris Braden, director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to investigate Vinson’s contact with those who were on her flight to Cleveland on Friday.

“We had started to look into the possibility that she had symptoms going back as far as Saturday,” Braden said. “Some more information that’s come through just recently would say that we can’t rule out the fact that she might have had the start of her illness on Friday.”

Braden also said Vinson did not show the typical symptoms. He said the symptoms they usually look for are headache, potentially sore throat, joint and muscle pain and fever. The CDC typically cuts off the limit for fever at 101.5 but has lowered it 100.4 because of some atypical cases.

Braden said the CDC is still learning more about the virus.

“We are learning more about what it takes to protect yourself from Ebola, even in the United States,” Braden said. “We have not identified exactly what happened for this woman to become infected, but let me say that she had extensive, multi-day exposures to multiple body fluids. So we’re talking about an extent of possible exposure beyond what you would ever see in the community.”

While in the area, Vinson visited Coming Attractions Bridal Shop in Tallmadge. Erme said at the media briefing they are looking to hear from anyone who visited the shop Saturday, Oct. 11 from the hours of noon to 3:30 p.m. She said they should call the 24-hour hotline at 330-926-3939.

Contact Audrey Fletcher at [email protected]. Leanne O’Neill contributed to reporting.