DALLAS (CBS News) - Dallas nurse Amber Vinson was transferred to Atlanta's Emory University Hospital Wednesday for ongoing treatment after being diagnosed with Ebola. She was helped from an ambulance onto a waiting plane by four medical workers in the now-familiar white hazmat suits, but there was one other person on the tarmac.
According to CBS 11 News in Dallas, questions about who the man wearing plain clothes and carrying a clipboard might be poured in.
"On social media, and on the CBS 11 News phone lines, the biggest question became -- who was the guy not wearing protective hazmat gear?" said CBS Dallas.
According to CBS Dallas, officials at both the ambulance company that transported Vinson to Dallas Love Field Airport for the flight, and Emory University Hospital said the man was not one of their staff. That, according to the report, makes it likely that the mystery man, who boarded the plane after all the others and reemerged on the tarmac in Atlanta, was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officer overseeing the transfer.
Contacted by CBS Dallas, a CDC official in Dallas didn't confirm the man with the clipboard was a member of the national agency's staff, but they did tell the station it appeared he had maintained a safe distance from Vinson while working on the tarmacs at both ends.
The CDC official stressed to CBS Dallas that only the workers in protective clothing were coming into direct contact with Vinson, and that the man didn't appear to breach any of the protocols put in place for the handling of patients with the highly infectious disease.
Still, questions are being asked.
"(It makes) no sense whatsoever," CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook said on "CBS This Morning." "There's a moment where it looks like he comes in pretty close contact with one of the men in the hazmat suits. ... That's not okay. Fortunately Nurse Vinson is in a protective suit, so maybe there's no virus on the outside there, but that's not protocol, that's for sure."