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.