BRAINTREE (CBS/AP) –A patient being evaluated at a Boston hospital with Ebola-like symptoms likely does not have the deadly virus, officials said late Sunday.
Earlier in the day, Harvard Vanguard Medical Center in Braintree was evacuated after a man who had recently traveled to Liberia arrived at the clinic complaining of a headache and muscle aches. He was isolated and taken by ambulance to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
“After discussions with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Boston Public Health Commission and its partners have determined that the patient being evaluated at BIDMC does not meet criteria to be considered someone at high risk for Ebola,” city health officials said in a statement. “The BPHC will continue to monitor this situation.”
The patient will remain in isolation, hospital officials said.
“After our initial evaluation, this patient does not appear to meet CDC criteria to be considered someone at high risk for Ebola and the likelihood of Ebola Virus Disease is extremely low,” Beth Israel said in a statement. “The hospital remains open for all normal clinical operations and visits.”
Staff at the Braintree clinic had instructed the man to return to his vehicle and wait for an ambulance to arrive after he complained of symptoms, according to Brewster Ambulance Service.
“Out of an abundance of caution we immediately notified authorities and the patient was securely removed from the building and put into an ambulance now headed to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,” Harvard Vanguard Chief of Infectious Disease Ben Kruskal said.
Beth Israel officials said on Sunday that they would be doing an assessment of the patient before testing him for Ebola.
“We are taking all necessary precautions in collaboration with the city of Boston and the Department of Public Health for the potential that this is suspected Ebola,” said Dr. Kenneth Sands, chief quality officer at Beth Israel. “In the meantime, we are pulling up protocols that we have prepared for, drilled for, that our staff are aware of.”
The man will be in a special unit designed to keep other patients and staff safe, Sands said.
With the patient transferred, Harvard Vanguard reopened following the brief evacuation. It was also cleared by state health officials to resume normal business.
The Braintree clinic is located at 111 Grossman Drive. The patient’s SUV was towed from the clinic with orange biohazard stickers on the window.
“Every precaution was taken in this case today and the patient has now been transported to a Boston hospital,” Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan said in a statement. “The patient’s car has been taken to a secure location where it can be monitored by law enforcement until more is known about the individual’s condition.”
One woman at the clinic who is 7 months pregnant told reporters she was terrified. She said she was told by officials to go home and take a shower.
Harvard Vanguard said it will work closely with the Department of Public Health to determine the next steps.
“There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Massachusetts,” the department said. “DPH has worked with area hospitals over the past several months on suspected cases of Ebola and they have all been quickly ruled out.”
Two Ebola patients with New England ties have been treated in recent weeks.
Photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo, a Providence native, contracted Ebola and is currently being treated at Nebraska Medical Center.
Ebola has killed more than 3,400 people in West Africa and infected at least twice that many, the World Health Organization said last week.
On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a healthcare provider who helped treat Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, who died from the disease, now has a confirmed case of Ebola as well.
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