Sen. Chuck Schumer takes part in the opening ceremony preceding...

Sen. Chuck Schumer takes part in the opening ceremony preceding the annual Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2014 in New York City. Credit: Getty Images / Michael Loccisano

Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday the federal government should pick up the tab for the $20 million New York City has spent so far treating an Ebola patient and tracking others arriving from West African hot spots for the deadly virus.

"This was a world class effort but it is not cost-free," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a news conference at Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan, where Dr. Craig Spencer was treated for 19 days before his discharge Tuesday.

President Barack Obama has proposed spending $6.1 billion to fight Ebola nationwide, of that, $14.6 million would go to New York State. Congress has until Dec. 15 to approve the request.

Schumer said federal reimbursement is justified because the city is a central entry point for travelers coming from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where Ebola has killed thousands. Efforts at city hospitals are helping to prevent the highly contagious virus from spreading in the United States.

"It is not fair that local taxpayers foot the bill to protect the citizens of the country," said Schumer, adding that medical personnel monitor the nearly 300 people arriving daily from the three West African countries.

Mayor Bill De Blasio will also be requesting federal aid "to help the city cover immediate and long-term expenses," spokeswoman Marti Adams said in a statement.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is looking forward "to working with our federal and local partners on this," Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever said in a statement.

"Governor Cuomo has made clear that the state will make sure hospitals and emergency facilities have the resources they need to care for sick or exposed individuals," Lever said.

The price tag of preparing to treat Ebola at Long Island hospitals and other medical facilities across the region is steep, said Kenneth E. Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association. The cost is estimated to hit nearly $75 million and will include supplies, quarantine and monitoring others for Ebola, Raske said.

Hospitals must stock up on protective gear, provide training and build quarantine facilities.

North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System's Glen Cove Hospital and Stony Brook University are the Island's designated Ebola treatment centers. A floor of Glen Cove Hospital is reserved for Ebola cases, Raske said.

"This is an exhaustive system where we have to provide separate water and plumbing facilities and waste disposal," Raske said. "This stuff has to be carefully bundled and picked up and disposed of carefully."

Schumer said he wants to establish an Ebola Contingency Fund anywhere from $100 million to $200 million, similar to one set up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain outbreaks of tuberculosis. The money would reimburse states and cities for the treatment of Ebola patients.

In the case of Spencer, who is virus free, Schumer said medical personnel had to monitor those who came into contact with the doctor, including FDNY ambulance and EMT workers. Additional workers had to be hired to replace nurses who were treating Spencer, as well as those who were in emergency training for Ebola response.

In New York City, Schumer said there are about 500 full-time hospital staffers working solely on Ebola. NYPD officers in a special unit trace the whereabouts of possible cases, the senator said.

"This is a 24-hour, seven day a week operation," Schumer said.

With Sarah Armaghan and AP

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

NewsdayTV talks to Zeldin at RNC ... Explaining Nassau transgender athlete ban ... New animals at game farm

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

NewsdayTV talks to Zeldin at RNC ... Explaining Nassau transgender athlete ban ... New animals at game farm

Latest videos

ONE-DAY SALE26¢ for 5 6 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME