In New Jersey, health care worker who treated patients in W. Africa isolated in hospital with fever
NEW YORK (CNN) — One day after New York officials announced a ‘Doctors Without Borders’ physician had tested positive for Ebola, another person who treated patients in West Africa developed a fever and was put in isolation at a northern New Jersey hospital.
The second health care worker, a woman who hasn’t been identified by name, did not have any Ebola symptoms upon arrival Friday at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey Health Department spokeswoman Donna Leusner said.
Yet things changed in the hours that followed. According to Leusner, “This evening, the health care worker developed a fever and is now in isolation and being evaluated at University Hospital in Newark.”
Unlike Dr. Craig Spencer, the 33-year-old now in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in nearby New York City, this second health care worker is not confirmed to have Ebola.
In fact, there have been far more examples in recent weeks of suspected Ebola cases than actual ones in the United States. For all the scares, only four people — starting with Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian who died in a Dallas hospital, followed by two Dallas health care workers who’d treated him, lastly Spencer — so far have been diagnosed with the deadly virus in the United States.
Still, the concerns that Ebola could spread further remain real. And, especially amid criticism over how the Dallas cases were handled, officials have signaled their intent to take stops to prevent it moving in.
To this end, the governors of New York and New Jersey announced Friday their states were stepping up airport screening for Ebola beyond federal requirements for travelers from Ebola-hit countries in West Africa.
The policy allows the states to determine hospitalization or quarantine for up to 21 days for travelers from the affected countries. A mandatory quarantine is called for those who had “direct contact with an individual infected with the Ebola virus,” including medical workers who treated Ebola patients.
In addition, people with a travel history to the affected regions but with no direct contact with Ebola patients will be “actively monitored … and, if necessary, quarantined.”
The health care worker being isolated at Newark’s University Hospital was among those initially quarantined as a result of this policy.
“This is not the time to take chances,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — joined by his New Jersey counterpart, Chris Christie — said of the shift. “This adjustment in increasing the screening procedures is necessary … I think public safety and public health have to be balanced and I think this policy does that.”