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Ebola Fears Grip Cleveland: Two Schools Shut, Nurses on Paid Leave

Two Cleveland schools were shut and some nurses were ordered to stay home Thursday amid fears of contact with the Ebola-infected Dallas nurse.
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Two Cleveland-area schools were closed and a group of nurses were told to stay home Thursday as authorities tracked an Ebola-stricken nurse's travels in Ohio. Amber Vinson, 29, who treated Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, flew to Ohio on Oct. 10 and then back to Texas on Monday before she tested positive for the deadly virus on Tuesday.

Cleveland Clinic and The MetroHealth System said employees — “mostly nurses” — who were aboard Vinson’s Friday flight from Dallas to Ohio were placed on paid leave and were being monitored but stressed there was little to no risk they had been infected. "The decision to put those nurses on paid leave really has to do with decreasing anxiety," said Dr. Jennifer Hanrahan, chair of the infection control committee at MetroHealth. "They are not at any risk, and I certainly wouldn't have sent them home to their children and their families if I thought there was any potential risk they would be infected.

A teacher who may have come into contact with Vinson was ordered to stay home and her elementary school, Cranwood, was “thoroughly cleaned with a bleach-based cleaning solution according to guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control,” Cleveland Metropolitan School District said. Meanwhile, Solon Middle School and Parkside Elementary School — a few miles southeast of Cleveland — were ordered closed Thursday after a middle school worker “traveled home from Dallas on Frontier Airlines Tuesday on a different flight, but perhaps the same aircraft” as Vinson, officials said.

Health officials stressed that because Vinson did not have any symptoms when she flew to Ohio, she was not contagious at that time and those she interacted with could not have contracted the virus. She had a low-grade fever when she flew back to Texas but Hanrahan said "even being right next to the person during that flight would not be considered a risk at this point."



- Alastair Jamieson, Christopher Nelson and Kelly O'Donnell