Health officials still won't say whether 21-day Ebola quarantine should be observed in designated hospitals

A doctor, who had self-quarantine himself in his own Harlem apartment, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital with Ebola-like symptoms

By LOUIS FLORES

A doctor, who had recently returned from one of the three West African nations that is Ground Zero for the current Ebola outbreak, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital today after exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms, The New York Daily News reported.

The doctor had just been to the nation of Guinea, where the doctor had provided medical care in connection with the organization, Doctors Without Borders, according to The New York Daily News report.  The doctor then self-quarantined himself in his Harlem apartment after he developed nausea and fever, two known symptoms of Ebola.

In a special Ebola report published Monday by Progress Queens, questions were raised about whether city and state health officials would require that New Yorkers, who may have made contact with people with Ebola, should observe a recommended 21-day period of quarantine in their own apartments or whether the quarantine period should be observed at one of the state's eight designated Ebola treatment centers, four of which are located in New York City.  

Concern over the spread of Ebola in the United States entered the public's consciousness after two nurses contracted Ebola from a patient being treated in a Texas hospital.  In the Texas case, other people who may have made contact with those with Ebola were allowed to be quarantined at home.  Despite constant reassurances from Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) that city and state health officials are fully prepared to deal with a possible Ebola outbreak in New York, it's still unknown if city and state health officials would require that people needing 21 days of quarantine be isolated at one of the state's eight designated Ebola treatment centers or whether the people would be trusted to remain quarantined in their own apartments.

The question of whether people can be trusted to self-quarantine themselves was raised again today, because the doctor, who was admitted today at Bellevue, was said to have been at a Williamsburg bowling alley on Wednesday, according to the report published by The New York Daily News.  Health officials are now reportedly trying to retrace the doctor's steps, to see if he may have exposed others to Ebola, if it turns out that he himself does have the virus that causes Ebola.    

If a person waits until he or she is very ill from Ebola, then the patient will be seeking medical help when he or she may be most contagious, when the patient may be suffering from diarrhea and nausea, increasing the chances that other people may have come into contact with their bodily fluids that may be carrying the virus or with objects, such as clothing or bed sheets, that may have, in turn, come into contact with the patient’s bodily fluids, raising fears of possible transmission to others before the patient can be safely isolated in a controlled hospital setting.  Other bodily fluids, like semen, can also carry the Ebola virus.  The results of medical tests conducted on the doctor are expected later today.

New York state health officials were contacted on Monday and again today, but state health officials refuse to answer any questions posed by Progress Queens.  New York city health officials were contacted in place of state health officials, but city health officials were did not immediately respond to a request for the city's recommendations about where 21-day periods of quarantine should be observed.  Other questions dodged by city and state health officials include whether the spree of recent hospital closings would hamper Ebola responsiveness plans in case single-bed rooms and isolation units at designated hospitals become overwhelmed by people requiring medical isolation or observation.