Health commissioner Mary Travis Bassett said the 33-year-old doctor, who has been widely identified as Dr. Craig Spencer, rode the A train to the L train to arrive at the dive on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint border and bowled there with friends. “He was feeling well at that time except for his feeling of fatigue,” Bassett said at a press conference, stressing that he didn’t yet have the symptoms — fever, diarrhea, etc. — that accompany contagiousness. Still, the bar has closed “out of an abundance of caution,” according to Bassett. She added that the health department would be on site tomorrow to “look at the bowling alley.”
Though some reported that Spencer, who contracted the disease while working for Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, had also visited Brooklyn Bowl, that would seem to be false: Bassett said nothing about the other Williamsburg bowling alley, and it remains open. However, she confirmed reports that the doctor rode an Uber car and visited the High Line. He may also have eaten at a restaurant along the way, she said. “Medical detectives” – who are in possession of the doctor’s MetroCard – “are at work putting together the pieces of the timeline,” said Bassett. They’re tracing anyone who had contact with the doctor and are prepared to quarantine them.
Since arriving in New York on Oct. 17, Spencer had been taking his temperature twice daily and was “mindful about contact with people,” Bassett said. After contracting a fever this morning, he reported his symptoms to Doctors Without Borders, which then contacted the health department, which in turn summoned EMS. He’s now in isolation at Bellevue Hospital, which is specially equipped to deal with Ebola patients. Before his hospitalization, Spencer had been in close contact with his fiancée and two friends, all of whom are healthy and being quarantined. An Uber driver with whom he had no physical contact is not considered to be at risk.
Mayor De Blasio stressed that “there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed – Ebola is an extremely hard disease to contract.” He and Governor Cuomo reminded the public that the city has been preparing for its first patient for months and the virus can only be transmitted by direct contact with blood or body fluids. It’s believed chances are “close to nil” that his subway ride could have resulted in contagion.
Update: The Gutter has issued a statement via Facebook and Twitter:
To all our customers, we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.
We’ve been in constant contact with the health department and they have determined that there was no risk to our customers.
Closing today was simply a precautionary measure.