President Samuelsen tonight released a statement to all members of TWU Local 100 on the confirmed case of Ebola in a young doctor who recently returned from Guinea. Here is the text of the statement:
THURSDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 23 -- The inevitable has happened. New York has its first confirmed case of Ebola, a young doctor who treated Ebola patients in West Africa, and returned symptom free to JFK 10 days ago. But, he developed symptoms today, and is now in Bellevue Hospital being treated. I have been in touch several times this evening with MTA CEO Thomas Prendergast, who was at Bellevue with other City and State officials to determine the facts of the doctor's movements since arriving back to the States.
The NYC Health Commissioner, Mary Bassett, has confirmed that the doctor used the subway to travel from Manhattan to Williamsburg, but this was done yesterday, Wednesday, before he came down with symptoms of the disease. Ebola patients are only contagious when they develop symptoms. When he had fever this morning, he called for an ambulance and was transported to Bellevue Hospital.
Ever since the Ebola crisis hit America with the much-covered cases in Dallas, our union has been preparing for the event that became public this evening.Your union's officers and safety representatives have attended every City and State sponsored Ebola educational seminar held in the City. We assisted our International Union in hosting an Ebola educational summit in Washington, DC today (Oct. 23) for TWU Local union leaders.
Our Local 100 Director of Occupational Health, Dr. Frank Goldsmith, has been closely monitoring the situation, and has disseminated as much information as possible to your officers and safety representatives. Earlier this week, the union began passing out literature to the membership in RTO on safety protocols for dealing with potentially infectious waste in the system. Your union is as prepared as we can be to ensure your safety during this potential crisis.We will be sending out more information tomorrow (Friday).
Transit workers have always dealt with crises calmly and professionally. We kept our heads during 9/11, and have dealt with all sorts of weather emergencies, including Sandy, in the same manner.
But this is different. This is something no one in New York has ever had to deal with. There is no need for panic, but there is need for concern and vigilance. Together we will overcome whatever gets thrown at us.
Be fully assured, we will protect your safety at all costs.