Several US states have taken special precautions when it comes to the Ebola Virus. New York and New Jersey have recently issued a mandatory quarantine for all doctors returning from West Africa. They are taking no chances as Ebola has taken nearly 5,000 lives.
The quarantine is required to last 21 days in isolation. If patients have Ebola like symptoms they are required to remain in the hospital as “High Risk,” though if they don’t experience symptoms, they may remain in home isolation as “Low Risk.”
In an interview with Matt Lauer, Governor Chris Christy defended his reasoning for the mandatory quarantine “My first responsibility is to protect the public health and safety of the people of New Jersey, and I will not submit to any political pressure in doing anything less than I believe is necessary”
Kaci Hickox was one of the first nurses to be placed under the NJ quarantine, when she arrived home from West Africa on Friday. She was held at a University Hospital in Newark, in an unheated tent in the parking lot. There were no showers and a box as a toilet. She described the ordeal as unnecessary and went as far as to contact a lawyer stating that her rights had been violated.
“Her civil rights were violated,” her lawyer told ABC News. “At a minimum, she could bring an action for damages. But I think her goal is to try to revise the current policies with regard to, for example, mandatory quarantines.”
According to ABC News, the action taken by the two states are most likely due to fear. Dr. Craig Spencer returned to New York last week after working in West Africa and was the first NYC Ebola case.
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated, “I don’t want to use the word mistake because I think when people do things, the governor of New York, the governor of New Jersey, they’re doing it in good faith to try and do what they feel is the best for their constituents, Fauci said in an interview with “Good Morning America.” “What we’re trying to do is set the bar that’s based on scientific data, but that’s not to criticize or to put down a decision that an official might make wanting to go the extra mile. That’s just judgment on their part.”
After showing no signs of Ebola, Hickox has returned home to Maine where she will finish out her quarantine time at home. She has not yet decided whether to sue NJ for the violation.
To see Gov. Christy’s interview with Matt Lauer, please see video below.
Photo by STEVEN J. HYMAN
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