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NYC Doctor Is First Person In Area To Test Positive For Ebola

Dr. Craig Allen Spencer
Dr. Craig Allen Spencer Photo Credit: LinkedIn

This story has been updated.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- A 33-year-old New York City doctor who recently returned from West Africa tested positive for the Ebola virus Thursday night to become the first person in the tristate area to contract the rare and deadly disease, according to multiple reports.

Craig Allen Spencer, a Harlem resident who worked with Doctors Without Borders, tested positive at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where he is being treated in isolation.

Spencer posted a photo of himself wearing protective gear on his Facebook page, which indicated he went to Guinea around Sept. 18 and then Brussels in mid October, according to CNN. CNN also reports Spencer's girlfriend has been quarantined.

Officials said as few as four people had contact with him after he returned from Africa and the chances of any other tristate residents contracting Ebola are extremely slim, but concerns among the millions of residents are likely to be at a heightened state in light of the news.

"We are as ready as one could be in this circumstance," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio late Thursday, emphasizing Ebola is not an airborne illness and is "basically contracted through bodily fluids."

"We have clear and strong protocols (on Ebola)," said de Blasio.

Westchester County Executive and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said late Thursday that the area's first Ebola case was "avoidable."

"President Obama and Gov. Cuomo left JFK Airport open to passengers arriving from Ebola-stricken nations even though they knew the likelihood of an Ebola case arriving here was great," Astorino said in a statement. "Somehow political correctness was deemed more important than public safety.

"The Centers for Disease Control specifically warned New York City last week that Ebola cases would arrive via JFK, and still nothing was done. Now, that case has arrived, and the scramble begins in the nation's largest city to find those who might have had contact with the patient. This is an extraordinary dereliction of duty and common sense both by the governor and the president."

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