Ebola update: NYC monitoring people who have returned from West Africa

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Tim Fleischer has the latest developments on the Ebola virus. (WABC)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday the city is actively monitoring a large number of people who have come from three West African countries since October 11.

They are all being monitored for 21 days.

The mayor also said that Dr. Craig Spencer remains in serious but stable condition. He noted that Dr. Spencer is now the only remaining person in the country hospitalized with Ebola.

"We've said for several days that it was going to get worse until it gets better. So far, so good. and again, he is getting extraordinary care at Bellevue. They are in consultation with leading experts across the nation for his care.", said de Blasio.

He also criticized those who have said Spencer misled the city and was not initially forthcoming about his condition.

"I just have to say im sick of these attempts to belittle a man who is a hero. It has got to end. This is a guy who went into danger to protect all of us. We don't spend a lot of time, when someone comes back in a military uniform, questioning their desire to do good in a crisis. It has to be stopped at its root," the mayor said.

A 5-year-old boy from the Bronx who had traveled to West Africa has tested negative for Ebola for a second time after initially having possible symptoms of the virus.

The young boy is being closely watched over by doctors at Bellevue Hospital. His condition appears to be improving, officials said.

The 5-year-old boy, who has been fully cleared after a negative Ebola test, will be moved from isolation, but will remain at the hospital.

His fever was caused by a respiratory infection, hospital officials said. His family is now able to more freely visit with him after the negative test results.

A negative test result also allowed Kaci Kickox to leave a tent outside University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey where she had been quarantined over the weekend, but also set off a firestorm of debate over mandatory quarantines.

"She's out now but the larger issue of the mandatory quarantine policy needs to be addressed," Norman Siegel, Hickox attorney, said.

Hickox left the hospital Monday in a SUV provided by the state of New Jersey to drive back to Maine. She claims she was treated like a criminal.

Hickox, who volunteered in Africa with Doctors Without Borders, was the first person forced into New Jersey's mandatory quarantine for people arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport from three West African countries.

Governor Chris Christie holds firm to the quarantine policy that he implemented.

"We're trying to be careful here. This is common sense. The members of the American public believe it is common sense and we are not moving an inch. Our policy hasn't changed and our policy will not change," Christie said in a television interview.

Hickox was quarantined in a tent with no heating, no shower and a box for a toilet, her attorney says and adds that she is planning to sue New Jersey. Hickox said she never had symptoms and tested negative for Ebola in a preliminary evaluation.

"Her civil rights were violated and at a minimum she could bring an action for damages, but I think her goal is to try to revise the current policies with regard to mandatory quarantine," Siegel said.

Hickox will continue her quarantine in Maine, one of nine states that have announced some type of quarantine above and beyond federal guidelines including New York.

The extraordinary precautions that New York City EMS Haz-Tac crews now utilize drew the praise of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

He honored the unit that transported the city's first confirmed Ebola case to Bellevue.

"There is courage that runs through the people that do this work. They volunteered to take on extraordinary dangerous challenges. They do it out of their devotion to helping their fellow New Yorkers," de Blasio said.

Spencer is the only confirmed Ebola case in New York.

(Some information in this story is from the Associated Press.)
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