Planet Princeton

Snyderman Sorry for Ebola Quarantine Violation `Episode’ by Group `Members’

nancy snyderman ebola princetonAt the  end of NBC’s  lead segment Monday about the nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital stricken with Ebola, news anchor Brian Williams read a prepared statement from the network’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Nancy Snyderman.

Snyderman issued an apology to the public in her statement, but did not indicate that she had violated the voluntary confinement agreement she and her crew made with the New Jersey Department of Health and the Princeton Health Department, or take personal responsibility for the violation.

“While under voluntary quarantine guidelines which called for our team to avoid public contact for 21 days, members of our group violated those guidelines and understand that our quarantine is now mandatory until 21 days have passed,” Snyderman said. “We remain healthy and our temperatures are normal. As a health professional, I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public, but I am deeply sorry for the concerns this episode caused.”

Snyderman and two men were seen in her black Mercedes last Thursday in Hopewell Boro. A reader said Snyderman’s car was double parked, she was in the driver’s seat, and a man in the passenger seat went into the Peasant Grill to get a carry out order. The next night the New Jersey Health Department announced that it was issuing a mandatory quarantine because of the violation of a voluntary confinement agreement. The state declined to say which crew member violated the agreement.

At the Princeton Council meeting Monday night, town health officer Jeff Grosser updated the governing body on the situation.

“Not in a million years did I think that I’d be at Princeton Council meeting speaking on Ebola, especially with a connection to Princeton,”Grosser said. “Unfortunately the disease now has Princeton ties.”

Grosser said prior to the NBC crew incident, the largest concern in Princeton was students and faculty coming back from Western Africa for the start of the fall semester at Princeton University.

He said diagnosing Ebola is difficult to do based on symptoms alone, because many of the symptoms like a fever are common to other health issues. After talking about Ebola in general, Grosser discussed the timeline since the NBC crew flew back to New Jersey.

The NBC crew made a voluntary confinement agreement with the New Jersey Department of Health and the Princeton Health Department that was supposed to last until the remainder of the 21-day period since the potential exposure to Ebola was over. The agreement was violated, Grosser said, and a mandatory quarantine was imposed by the state. The quarantine is in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 22.

“The crew remains symptom free,” Grosser said. “There is no reason for concern. I’ve also communicated with our neighboring town regarding the recent incident,” he said, referring to Hopewell Boro, where Snyderman and her two companions were seen last week.

“There was a voluntary confinement in the beginning,” Grosser said. “I know mixed messages were sent…confinement is typically voluntary. It also includes some flexibility with the local health department.”

Grosser said the health department would be notified prior to certain instances, but “that was breached.”

Snyderman and the other crew members are being monitored by a public health nurse twice a day, Grosser said. . Their temperatures are taken every morning, and then in the afternoon or evening.  Grosser is in touch with state health officials on a regular basis, he said. Police are conducting increased surveillance in the area, and the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad is prepared in case an isolation plan needs to be put into practice, he said.

Anyone in Princeton who is sick would be taken to the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro under that plan, Grosser said, adding that he is confident the hospital is prepared if anyone needs to be put in isolation there.

Originally before they flew back, Snyderman and her crew were considered to have no risk for Ebola, Grosser said. Later the risk was upgraded to “low risk,” which means you came into close contact with someone who tested positive for Ebola, within three-feet of the person. A person is deemed low risk within three feet because they could have been exposed to secretions like sweat and saliva, or had some form of contact. He said it was his understanding that Snyderman and her crew were in contact with the cameraman who was diagnosed with Ebola “in an office-like setting.”

“In that situation you can’t rule out no risk,” Grosser said of close contact within three feet. “We were erring on the side of  caution.”

During voluntary confinement, food can be delivered to a residence, but Grosser said “a walk down the street is not necessary.”

Officials said the flu kills more than 30,000 people each year and other diseases should be highlighted instead of Ebola.

“I’m more afraid of ISIS moving closer to Baghdad than Ebola in Princeton,” Councilman Lance Liverman said. “We are light years ahead of everyone else. The intelligence and information we have here in Princeton with this is overwhelming.”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • jfox

    A new high in self entitlement has been reached. Should definitely face a medical review board. Appears NBC has gotten as bad as MSNBC.

  • jerab

    Dr. Snyderman M.D. has demonstrated a callous, willful and reckless disregard for human life. As a physician she swore (affirmed) an oath “to do no harm”. She is culpable for wrong doing to the medical profession and should be punished by the profession for wrong doing. The State of New Jersey has an obligation to suspend her license to practice medicine until she can be held accountable through administrative substantive due process and I hope legal due process of law criminally for wrong doing. Recent news items convey that Dr. Snyderman and her “crew” to be arrogant and self serving.
    Planet Princeton—WELL DONE! Stay with the story because I doubt the main stream media (good old boys) will give this breach of public trust much attention.

  • lilymanx

    I hope it doesn’t turn out that people can carry Ebola without getting it. That was a very scary feature of the strain of meningitis that was at Princeton U last year. The university tried to stop that outbreak with protocols – and probably those measures helped – but cases were appearing with greater frequency until the vaccine was administered. After that, there were no more cases at Princeton, though a girl at Drexel (hence unvaccinated) died after contact with a Princeton student who had no symptoms.

  • Alexi Assmus

    Fear can be managed by understanding. People should understand what to do if they come into contact with someone with Ebola so that they don’t inadvertently contract or spread the disease, even if this is a very, very remote possibility in Princeton. Stay farther away than 3 feet and don’t touch the person. I am pointing out that Ebola is not like AIDS, where irrational fears led gays to be shunned, and that Ebola patients do need to be isolated.

  • SFB

    Alexi, where are you going with this? AIDS and Ebola are different diseases with different risks. Although body fluids from an Ebola patient are more infectious when a patient is exhibiting symptoms, asymptomatic patients are generally not contagious. That is not the case with HIV. HIV is often transmitted by asymptomatic individuals, many of whom may not even know they are infected. They are different diseases which must be managed differently. But Ebola is not considered more contagious than HIV. In fact, it has a lower R(0) number. In any case, the Ebola risk in Princeton is being effectively managed and the head of the CDC has declared that there is no public health risk.

  • Alexi Assmus

    A comparison of Ebola to AIDS (both passed by bodily fluids):

    One way to understand how much more highly infectious Ebola is than
    AIDS is the enormous difference in viral particles between someone
    with active Ebola (10 billion viral particles in 1/5th a teaspoon of
    blood) and AIDS (50,000-100,000 inn 1/5th a teaspoon of blood).

    Here’s the quote from the NY Times article “Questions
    Rise on Preparations at Hospitals to Deal with Ebola”. Dr.
    Ribner in the quote is medical director of Emory’s infectious disease
    unit — where the two missionaries were successfully treated for Ebola.
    **************************

    “At the peak of illness, an
    Ebola patient can have 10 billion viral particles in one-fifth of
    a teaspoon of blood. That compares with 50,000 to 100,000
    particles in an untreated H.I.V. patient, and five million to 20
    million in someone with untreated hepatitis C.

    “That helped us to
    understand why, if this is only spread by body fluids, why it is
    more contagious than hepatitis A, B and C, and H.I.V.,” Dr. Ribner
    said. “It’s just that there’s so much more virus in the fluids
    they put out.”

  • ca1

    her apology is right out of the obama book of shirking responsibility and blaming others… nice nancy… uh, you are the medical doctor and a member of this “group”, did i get that right?

  • ca1

    she should continue her quarantine in JAIL!.. way to represent the medical community nancy! what an elitist … the rules are for everyone else… in the meantime i’m looking forward to hearing that she’s fired from her “job” at nbc and is being investigated by her state medical board and license revocation! at least THAT would send a message about the serious nature of this epidemic … NO ONE is exempt from complying… our lives depend on it…………

  • Heidi

    Me too, Went twice today. With kids. Zero risk. And the reward is some really awesome food. The chocolate cake is unreal.

  • Guest

    Agree. Of course, her future ratings (who on earth would watch her?) may take care of that. She should also reimburse the municipality for police and any other OT incurred because of her actions, and compensate the cafe for any losses sustained by the business and its workers. Completely shameful behavior.

    Excellent work, Planet Princeton.

  • sgmcl

    Those words, “I’m sorry” sound absolutely ridiculous. Fire her and the two she was with.

  • Stephanie

    It’s because of idiotic, self entitled, “all knowing” people like this that this epidemic is spreading and now on American soil. Start imposing steep mandatory fines for breaking quarantine and make quarantine mandatory instead of voluntary. Obviously voluntary isn’t going to work – and not just in the case of these people. Human nature is to be impatient and say “oh, it’s been 10 (or 12, or 15, etc) days and I feel fine”. You may feel fine, but you’re carrying the Ebola virus and putting my (and anybody else’s) health and well being at risk; because I’m sure sooner or later they will discover that some folks are carriers only (those who have the virus, but never show symptoms – like carriers of HPV, or Hepatitus, etc) who are capable of spreading the virus to others. We need to start getting tough…….yes this is still America and we love our freedom and civil liberties, but at some point we will need to step on some toes and impose some temporary measures to ensure that US citizens are protected from outbreaks such as this.

  • billthegrunt

    I’ll be watching NBC Nightly News tonight, expecting a real apology from Snyderman, followed by her immediate suspension (to begin after her quarantine ends.)

    PS: Great job, Planet Princeton, for your coverage of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Contagious.

  • Reg

    Honestly, they should sue her. Everyone is avoiding that place now and business won’t be back to normal until 2015.

  • SFB

    I’ll jump right in there to support our local business. Yes I would eat there, because there is zero risk of disease transmission from individuals who aren’t showing Ebola symptoms.

  • We Needed a Role Model

    The View ladies just said it best – we need role models in a time of crisis, not people who can’t take responsibility for their own actions. Hats off to The View. I’ve never really watched much before, but I’m a fan now and I think there are a bunch of other people out there looking for a new show to watch! Thanks for saying what needed to be said. The apology was “crappy” – indeed.

  • DizzyMissL

    She is a real piece of work. Yes, Nancy, I am talking about you…**waving**

  • Bern

    NBC MUST get rid of Snyderman. SHE has absolutely No credibility. What a complete jerk.

  • K.H.L.

    Kudos to Planet Princeton for covering this story so well!

  • Metric

    “We are light years ahead of everyone else. The intelligence and information we have here in Princeton with this is overwhelming.”–> so says Lance Liverman.

    Lance would have us believe that if one is sooo smart, one will never get ebola, “its overwhelming”

  • Dianna

    It’s people like this irresponsible doctor who bring about epidemics. She should be fired. Imagine what this is doing to the Peasant Grill. Would you eat there for the next month?

  • Cowboy Coder

    Comparing this to the flu is irresponsible and absurd because the flu does not kill 80-90% of the people who get it.

  • Censored in USA

    Sars Scam – Bird Flu Scam – Ebola Scam – NBC lies all the time. CNN using ” crisis actors ”
    to make footage . Look it up. 100 % Fake news. The disease may be real , but the numbers
    and coverage must be questioned. Think , who benefits ?

  • Princeton Res

    Selfish. Fire her NBC!

  • If she wants to call herself a “medical professional” she needs to conform to the medical practices to which she agreed. She’s lost all credibility as member of NBC News and if she really is a licensed medical doctor she should be up for license revocation.

  • RetiredNavyphotog

    Only sorry because she was caught.

  • Not A Proper Apology

    She did not apologize for lying or for putting people potentially at risk. She just apologized for freaking people out. As we would say to our kids, “That’s not good enough – apologize for real now.” She’s like a 2-year-old.

  • Douglas Chia

    Love the use of the double negative here: “‘In that situation you can’t rule out no risk,’ Grosser said of close contact within three feet.”

  • Razor Maclennan

    Fire her ASAP.

  • thoroughbred

    When you are really hungry for takeout, a mere deadly infection risk is no big deal.

  • Glam GP

    I feel sorry for the restaurant she associated with potential ebola. I wonder if its business was affected after this story broke.

  • CurmudgeHI

    We may have infected your city with a really horrible disease, but we don’t think so. Trust us. We are experts? So you caught us, sorry.

  • G_unitttt

    National eBola Channel

  • Thanks to Dr. Nancy Snydernam NBC is now known as the National Ebola Channel

  • Strung Out

    Thanks, we needed a laugh!

  • Leo Cardinal

    Kudos to the Journalist(s) at Planet Princeton.
    Does this mean the public will be spared of the planned, upcoming feature where Snyderman and her crew become the story?
    Gotta hand it to her, I would’ve never guessed anyone would even try to upstage a deadly pandemic.
    And keep in mind that NBC hired the infected cameraman AFTER he was ebola positive.
    Looks like NBC management is in on this staged crisis too.

  • Paulbud

    It’s curious that her temperature is normal, because she is toast!

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