The Health Department and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) announced today that the active monitoring period for the last of the 114 health care workers who cared for New York City’s first Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, will end today. This includes staff from Bellevue Hospital Center, FDNY EMS and the Health Department’s Public Health Laboratory. Dr. Spencer arrived at HHC’s Bellevue Hospital Center on October 23, 2014 and was treated by a trained team of specialists and intensive care nurses in the Infectious Disease Unit. He was released from the hospital on November 11, 2014.
The City is also providing an update on the number of individuals under active monitoring in New York City. As of Tuesday, December 2, 222 individuals are being actively monitored by the Health Department. These individuals are travelers arriving in New York City within the past 21 days from the four Ebola-affected countries who are being monitored post-arrival. All of these individuals are being monitored out of an abundance of caution, and none are showing any symptoms. The number of individuals who will be actively monitored will continue to fluctuate as people arrive or depart New York City, we learn more about people’s exposures, and 21 days of monitoring has passed.
“Our first goal was to bring Dr. Craig Spencer back to good health. Equally as pressing was to ensure the safety of our staff by protecting them from the risk of Ebola transmission,” said HHC President Dr. Ram Raju. “Today, we are pleased to announce that all HHC employees who directly cared for Dr. Spencer have safely passed the 21-day monitoring period. We once again demonstrated the value of public hospital systems in this country, why we need to support them, and why the compassionate and selfless professionals who staff them deserve our gratitude and respect.”
“Our months of preparation have paid off,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “The staff at Bellevue Hospital Center not only gave Dr. Spencer the best care possible, but also did so safely. I congratulate Dr. Raju and every person who cared for Dr. Spencer on today’s great news. Bellevue Hospital Center – esteemed flagship of our wonderful New York City public health care system – has proven once again that they have the ability to manage any crisis that walks through its doors.”
“Our response to any emergency is only a success if all our members return home safely – the end of the 21-day monitoring period with none of our responders having contracted the disease brings relief to the entire Department,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “Their confidence in our protocols, training and personal protective equipment (PPE) never wavered and each and every one of them has made FDNY proud. Thankfully, there have been no new cases in our region, but we must continue to be vigilant, and the Department continues to stress preparedness ensuring that we can serve our city while maintaining our members’ safety.”
Bellevue was designated as one of four Ebola treatment centers in New York City. The hospital has a long history of being on the front lines of epidemics and emerging public health threats, and managing an isolation unit for diseases, such as TB, for many years. HHC began training in the summer to prepare for possible Ebola patients, and to institute protocols and best practices to protect the public, patients and staff.