NYC Doctor Being Treated for Ebola Is Declared Free of Virus, Will Be Discharged Tuesday

Dr. Craig Spencer, the physician being treated for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital, is now free of the virus and will be released from the hospital on Tuesday, city health officials said Monday.

Spencer's expected release comes a little more than a week after health officials upgraded his condition from "serious but stable" to "stable."

Mayor Bill de Blasio told a reporter following an event Monday that he was "thrilled" Spencer will be released and that he was "looking forward" to shaking Spencer's hand. 

"I have said many times he's a real hero," de Blasio said. "He's a guy who went toward danger, went to where the need was greatest in the whole world. He suffered a lot these past few weeks but he's come back really strong."

The doctor has been upbeat and positive during his treatment, de Blasio said, adding Spencer has a "great sense of humor."

He added that Spencer has told him repeatedly that "everyone at Bellevue was just extraordinary. They were willing to take some risks themselves to make sure he was well, and they did an amazing job." 

De Blasio and city officials will discuss Spencer's discharge during a press conference scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Neighors at Spencer's Hamilton Heights apartment building said they were happy to hear he was being released.

"We're very glad to have them around here, people who sacrifice the self for the humanity," said Jose Baez. "This is a great pride for the community." 

Authorities said last week that Spencer was awake, communicating and undergoing plasma and antiviral therapies, treatments that have been used to treat Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and at the Nebraska Medical Center.

He received a plasma transfusion from the second American Ebola patient, Nancy Writebol, on Oct. 25, according to SIM, the Christian organization that Writebol worked with before she was admitted to Emory University Hospital in August.

Spencer's fiancee, Morgan Dixon, was released from the hospital two weeks ago and returned to the couple's Hamilton Heights apartment. She had not developed any sign of the illness, and she was to remain under quarantine at home.

The number of people under "active monitoring" for Ebola symptoms tripled last week from 117 cases on Monday to 357 people on Wednesday, health officials said last week.

The vast majority of those being monitored arrived in New York City within the past 21 days from the three Ebola-affected countries

Others being monitored include the staff caring for Spencer, the physician being treated for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital, the lab workers who conducted his blood tests and the FDNY EMTs who transported the doctor.

All of those being monitored showed no symptoms but are being checked on out of "an abundance of caution," officials said. 

Spencer is currently the last person known to have had the disease in the U.S.

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