New York Sunday revised its Ebola guidelines to allow health care workers returning from affected African countries to be monitored from home rather than quarantined. The changes came amid White House pressure and complaints from a nurse who was forced into quarantine when she arrived in Newark, New Jersey, from Sierra Leone.
“If a person arrives and had direct contact with people infected with the Ebola virus but is asymptomatic, they will be transported by private vehicle [arranged by the New York State Department of Health or local health department] to their homes where they will be quarantined for 21 days,” the guidelines read. The 21-day requirement is the maximum incubation period for the disease.
Kaci Hickox wrote a scathing critique, published by the Dallas Morning News Saturday, of her treatment on arrival at Newark. She said she feared if other health care workers are subjected to the same treatment, fewer will be willing to travel to Africa to fight the disease, which has killed nearly 5,000 people so far.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called Hickox’s treatment “inappropriate,” the New York Times reported.
“My No. 1 job is to protect the people of New York, and this does that,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in announcing the new guidelines. In contrast, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said earlier Sunday he expects the strict quarantine guidelines to be imposed nationwide.