Updated throughout, 3:45 p.m. Just when the rush from riding a subway possibly infected with Ebola virus was starting to wear off, out comes a new statistic to strike fear into the hearts of New Yorkers across all five boroughs. According to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation on Wednesday afternoon, 357 people in New York City are being actively monitored for symptoms of Ebola.
People under “active monitoring” get a phone call from a doctor checking in on them once a day, and they are asked to record their temperature twice a day.
“The vast majority of these individuals are travelers arriving in New York City within the past 21 days from the three Ebola-affected countries who are being monitored post-arrival,” HHC says, but the list also includes Bellevue staffers who cared for Dr. Craig Spencer, the first diagnosed case of Ebola in New York, as well as FDNY EMS personnel who transported Spencer to Bellevue and the lab workers who conducted Spencer’s blood test.
Of course, they say, “[A]ll of these individuals are being monitored out of an abundance of caution.” That’s reassuring!
The number, HHC says, will continue to fluctuate in the coming weeks and months as the 21-day incubation period for each person potentially exposed to the virus expires, and as more folks arrive in New York from Ebola-stricken nations (or as they leave).
Spencer remains in stable condition and under observation at Bellevue Hospital. At least one of the people he came into contact with has been shifted from quarantine to “direct active monitoring,” which means that person will be allowed to move freely throughout the city, but he or she will be assessed in person twice each day by health department staff. Spencer’s fiancée, Megan Dixon, remains under (so far asymptomatic) quarantine at the couple’s apartment.