'We learned from Dallas': NY officials blast Texas while saying city is ready for Ebola patients

'We learned from Dallas': NY officials blast Texas while saying city is ready for Ebola patients
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By RYAN GORMAN

New York officials confirmed a doctor in the city has tested positive for Ebola, but stressed the city is much more prepared than Dallas and that residents have nothing to worry about.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the city and state was fortunate to have learned from Dallas' mistakes and that hospitals were ready for an Ebola patient when the time came.

"We have had a full coordinated effort that has been working night and day," said Cuomo. "We are as ready as one could be for this circumstance.

"What happened in Dallas was the exact opposite," he continued. "We had the advantage of learning from the Dallas experience."

Spencer was raced Thursday afternoon to Bellevue Hospital by EMS workers in Hazmat suits after contacting the health department. His ambulance was escorted to Bellevue Hospital by police cruisers.

The city has activated an emergency operations center in Brooklyn normally used for natural disasters, and also converted a former tuberculosis lab to handle Ebola, said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Officials declined to confirm the name of the 33-year-old doctor who tested positive for the deadly virus, but previous reports identified him as Dr. Craig Spencer. He contracted the disease after working in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders.

Spencer was taking his temperature twice a day since returning from West Africa last week, but had ventured out into the city. Early media reports said the doctor self-quarantined, but authorities were quick to point out that was not the case.

The doctor went on a three-mile jog and also took an Uber car to The Gutter bowling alley, in Brooklyn, Wednesday. Spencer also took the A, L and 1 subway lines, went to the High Line Park (in Chelsea) and a restaurant since returning to the city, officials said, but the risk to the public is minimal.



He felt no symptoms until Thursday morning. Ebola is not able to be transmitted until symptoms are apparent. Spencer left Guinea October 14 and landed in New York at October 17, authorities said.

"I would get on the subway and ride the subway tomorrow," said Dr. Howard Zucker, acting commissioner of health for New York state.

Officials repeatedly stressed that Ebola can only be contracted through contact with an Ebola patient's body fluids.

"There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," said de Blasio. "There have been reports about the patients movements ... but we emphasize again, Ebola is very hard to contract.

"Being on the same subway car or living with an Ebola person is not enough to contract Ebola."

The Uber driver who drove Spencer to the bowling alley has been cleared by health officials.

The four people, including Spencer's fiancée, who came into contact with him have been placed into isolation, said officials.

The bowling alley is being sanitized, but officials curiously did not say anything about similar measures being taken at Spencer's apartment.

Doctors expect him to make a full recovery because he was hospitalized early enough -- in New York.



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