A nurse who worked closely with Ebola patients in West Africa is refusing to adhere to an additional 21-day quarantine after she was released from an isolation tent in Newark, New Jersey, earlier this week.
Kaci Hickox, a nurse who works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), went to West Africa as part of a trip with Doctors Without Borders. She told Matt Lauer on NBC’s TODAY Wednesday she will not follow the 21-day self quarantine protocol set forth by her home state of Maine for health care workers who have worked in the infected region.
“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public.”
The quarantine is slated to run through November 10, and Hickox said she is willing to fight for her freedom, even in court.
“If the restrictions placed on me by the state of Maine are not lifted by Thursday morning, I will go to court to fight for my freedom.”
Hickox also told Lauer that she’s in “perfectly good health.” She has maintained she never had any Ebola symptoms, and tested negative in a preliminary evaluation. She is staying at her home in Fort Kent with her boyfriend, Theodore Wilbur, a senior nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) said Wednesday officials are exploring “all of our options” for protecting his state’s health in light of Hickox’s statement, according to multiple sources.
“We hoped that the health care worker would voluntarily comply with these protocols, but this individual has stated publicly she will not abide by the protocols.
“We are very concerned about her safety and health and that of the community. We are exploring all of our options for protecting the health and well-being of the health care worker, anyone who comes in contact with her, the Fort Kent community, and all of Maine.”
One student at the university, Kayla Michaud, told Fox News that students are worried about Wilbur’s presence among the student body.
“If she’s in quarantine, is he going to be quarantined? Because we don’t all want to be contaminated with the Ebola virus.”
The concern comes in the wake of the discovery that current Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, gave false information about his whereabouts in New York City after returning from West Africa.
“He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around.”
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h/t Ben Swann