NEWS

Ebola outbreak: Maine nurse plans to end Ebola quarantine

10/29/2014 12:13 EDT | Updated 12/29/2014 05:59 EST
A nurse who treated Ebola patients in West Africa said Wednesday that she plans to end her voluntary isolation in Maine, leading to a potential showdown with state officials who have vowed to enforce a mandatory quarantine.

Gov. Paul LePage said state police are monitoring the Fort Kent home where nurse Kaci Hickox is staying to ensure her protection as well as the safety of the community, he said.

Hickox told NBC's Today show and ABC's Good Morning America that she has so far abided by the state's voluntary quarantine. She said she had no contact with anyone Tuesday and will have no human contact again Wednesday. But she said she will take action if the policy isn't changed by Thursday.

"I don't plan on sticking to the guidelines," Hickox said on Today. "I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me even though I am in perfectly good health."

Her lawyer told The Associated Press that Hickox isn't willing to co-operate further unless the state lifts "all or most of the restrictions," which LePage said was disappointing.

"We hoped that the healthcare worker would voluntarily comply with these protocols, but this individual has stated publicly she will not abide by the protocols," LePage said in a statement. "We are very concerned about her safety and health and that of the community."

Hickox, who volunteered in Africa with Doctors Without Borders, was the first person forced into New Jersey's mandatory quarantine for people arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport from three West African countries.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo were sharply criticized for ordering mandatory quarantines for health-care workers like Hickox who've shown no symptoms of Ebola. Now in Maine, Hickox arrived Tuesday night at the off-campus home of her boyfriend, who's a senior nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

"I am not going to sit around and be bullied by politicians and forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public," she said.

Norman Siegel, one of her lawyers, said he remains hopeful the state will ease its restrictions. If not, then the state would have to go to court, and Siegel would challenge the state's action, he said.

"Our position is very simple. There's no justification for the state of Maine to quarantine her. She has no symptoms and therefore she's not contagious. And she's not at a risk to the public or the health and welfare of people in the state of Maine," he said.

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