Nurse Held In Ebola Quarantine In New Jersey Being Permitted To Go Home

Kaci Hickcox, who has been held in isolation since arriving at Newark Liberty Airport Friday afternoon, is being released and will be allowed to continue her quarantine at home in Maine:

A nurse who recently returned from West Africa and was quarantined for the past three days in a tent behind a New Jersey hospital despite having no symptoms associated with Ebola will be allowed to return to her home in Maine, where it will be left to local health officials to determine how she will monitor her health to ensure she is not infected with the virus.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, in a brief interview, said that he expected the nurse, Kaci Hickox, to be transferred Monday morning after doctors and federal officials signed off on the plan.

The details of how she would be transferred and the protocols she will follow in Maine have yet to be worked out.

“She will remain subject to New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine order while in New Jersey,” the state’s health department said in a statement. “Health officials in Maine have been notified of her arrangements and will make a determination under their own laws on her treatment when she arrives.”

The nurse’s treatment has drawn withering criticism from both public health officials and the nurse herself. At University Hospital in Newark, Ms. Hickox has been kept in an isolation tent with a portable toilet, but no shower or television.

“I’m hopeful that this morning if all goes well we’ll be able to release her and send her back to Maine,” Mr. Christie said.

Given that Hickcox has not shown any symptoms of Ebola since arriving at the hospital and has tested negative for Ebola, this seems like the only real option that New Jersey has here. Had they not done this, it’s likely that legal action would have been initiated as early as today, litigation that the state likely would have lost. Now, one can only hope that Ms. Hickcox remains in good health and that New Jersey has learned its lesson from all of this.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. gVOR08 says:

    So Christie will bow to logic and do the sensible thing, under threat of legal action.

  2. stonetools says:

    . Now, one can only hope that Ms. Hickcox remains in good health and that New Jersey has learned its lesson from all of this.

    You mean Christie has learned his lesson.

  3. Have either you noticed that the other two Governors who enacted this quarantine policy are both Democrats, and that Cuomo only backed down after the White House and CDC pressured him?

  4. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Health officials in Maine… will make a determination … on her treatment…”

    Odd choice of words “treatment”. Normally we would associate the word treatment, when used by a health official, to reference a plan to treat a disease or illness.

    Since Hickcox is neither ill or diseased, the word treatment must refer to something else.
    As in how do we “treat” our neighbors.

    But Christie doesn’t “give it a second thought”.

  5. CSK says:

    The nurse may end up wishing she’d stayed in New Jersey.

  6. Geek, Esq. says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Some would quibble as to Mr. Cuomo’s Democratic bona fides. He’s more similar than dissimilar to his fellow investigation target across the Hudson.

  7. Gustopher says:

    And now we get the state of Maine deciding how and whether to overreact. Awesome.

    No offense to the great state of Maine, but we really shouldn’t have 50 separate policies for treating people who may have been exposed to ebola — that would just give us the opportunity to make rookie mistakes 50 times.

  8. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Have you noticed that it was the White House, CDC, and liberals who pressured all the politicans into being science based and rational and that it was your team-the conservatives-who originally pressured the politicans to adopt irrational policies?
    Do you think the Romney Administation-or ANY Republican Administration-would have acted as the Obama Administration did, in the face of elections where they needed every vote?
    Doug, you have seen a portrait in political courage-and you have refused to give the Administration credit for it. Not criticizing them isn’t giving credit.