An American nurse who returned from Sierra Leone after treating Ebola victims is being released today after days in forced quarantine in New Jersey.
Kaci Hickox was forced to undergo a mandatory quarantine in a New Jersey hospital upon her return, due to a policy set in place by New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The policy flies in the face of recommendations from health experts and the White House. Hickox had no symptoms of Ebola and tested negative for the virus twice. Ebola is not contagious until victims show symptoms.
On Monday, the New Jersey Department of Health said Hickox has been symptom-free for 24 hours and is being discharged following evaluation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fox News reported.
Hickox has been in quarantine for the last three days. Following her release, she will be transferred back to her home in Maine. Her quarantine in New Jersey will still be in effect while she remains in the state.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– New Jersey Health Department”]
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 Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention said today it will work with Hickox to develop an in-house quarantine, the New York Times reported.
Hickox worked with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone for the last month helping Ebola patients. She arrived back in the U.S. on Friday, the same day New York and New Jersey governors began a mandatory quarantine policy. She was the first person affected by the policy.
After Hickox landed at Newark Liberty International Airport, a forehead scanner showed she had a temperature of 101. This prompted concern as a fever is a symptom of the virus. She said the reading was due to the fact that she was flushed and upset. An oral temperature reading later recorded a normal temperature of 98.6.
She has been kept at University Hospital in Newark since Friday in an isolation tent that has no shower or television with a portable toilet. She has called her treatment inhumane and blasted Christie for saying she was “obviously ill” when she had no symptoms.
The policy of mandatory quarantines for returning health care workers has raised concerns that fewer volunteers will go to fight the virus where they are needed to slow its spread.
On Monday, Christie said that Hickox will understand the quarantine “when she has time to reflect,” citing the greater responsibility to the public, ABC News reported.