Amarillo Receives Ebola Scare, Highlights Potential Oversights in Confirmed Dallas Cases
Just one day after the second ever confirmed contraction of the Ebola Virus within America, specifically Dallas, an emergency lockdown was initiated in an Amarillo, Texas, Emergency Room.
At around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 15, reports surfaced on multiple media outlets and social media sites that the Emergency Room of Baptist St. Anthony’s Health System in Amarillo initiated emergency containment procedures after a patient came in exhibiting flu-like symptoms and said they were in contact with someone who had recently traveled to Africa.
However, Pronews 7 out of Amarillo reported at 6:30 p.m. that the lock-down had been lifted by 6:30 p.m. According to Pronews 7, it was discovered that the individual the patient was in contact with had not traveled to an Ebola-stricken West African nation in the past 21 days.
Although BSA responded quickly, concerns are being raised over the Centers for Disease Control’s decision to allow Amber Joy Vinson - the second health care worker in Dallas to contract Ebola – to fly to Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday, October 13, one day before testing positive for the virus.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC said Vinson should not have been allowed to travel.
The health care worker number two, who traveled from Ohio on the 13th of October, Monday, should not have traveled, should not have been allowed to travel by plane or any public transport by virtue because of the fact that she was in an exposed group. And although she did not report any symptoms, and she did not meet the fever threshold of 100.4, she did report at that time that she took her temperature and found it to be 99.5.”
Vinson flew Frontier Airlines flight 1142 on Monday, October 13, from Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland and returned Tuesday, October 14, on flight 1143.
Frontier Airlines issued a statement concerning those flights and have begun notifying passengers on those flights.
At approximately 1 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.
The 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.”
Vinson was transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Wednesday which, according to the Associated Press, has previously treated three Americans suffering from the virus.
Texas Health Presbyterian has also been accused of not utilizing hazmat suits with Thomas Eric Duncan until he was confirmed to have the virus. According to The Dallas Morning News, the suits were not used for nearly 48-hours during which time Duncan began presenting diarrhea and explosive vomiting.
President Barack Obama cancelled travels plans on Wednesday to meet with his cabinet and discuss the Ebola situation in Dallas. The president made remarks afterwards attempting to calm the nation, while stressing the seriousness of the virus.
I know that the American people are concerned about the possibility of an Ebola outbreak, and Ebola is a very serious disease. And the ability of people who are infected who could carry that across borders is something that we have to take extremely seriously. At the same time, it is important for Americans to know the facts, and that is that because of the measures that we’ve put in place, as well as our world-class health system and the nature of the Ebola virus itself -- which is difficult to transmit -- the chances of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low.
Procedures are now in place to rapidly evaluate anybody who might be showing symptoms. We saw that with the response of the airplane in Newark and how several hospitals across the United States have been testing for possible cases. In recent months we’ve had thousands of travelers arriving here from West Africa, and so far only one case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States, and that’s the patient in Dallas. Our prayers are obviously with him and his family.”
During a press conference Wednesday, Dr. Frieden announced that a CDC Ebola Rapid Response Team would be sent to any hospital that receives cases of Ebola to further efforts to stymie the disease.
Although the numbers in the United States remain low – with two infected and around 75 individuals being monitored – almost 9,000 cases have been reported in West Africa during the current outbreak. The World Health Organization projects 10,000 new cases per month if significant improvements in treatment and safe burials are not achieved.