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Ebola Healthcare Worker Won’t Abide By ‘Voluntary’ Quarantine; Maine Governor Concerned About Safety

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Jim Bowdoin courtesy

Healthcare worker Kaci Hickox just traveled to Fort Kent after protesting her forced quarantine in a tent in New Jersey. Her lawyer has stated that she will not abide by the voluntary 21-day quarantine protocol set forth by the Maine Center for Disease Control and will only remain in quarantine for a day or two.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday issued a statement about Hickox, who just returned to Maine after working with Ebola patients in West Africa.

In a statement, LePage said, “We commend all healthcare workers for their humanitarian work in West Africa and other regions in the world, and we are proud that Americans are always ready to help others. However, the healthcare worker who is in Fort Kent has been unwilling to follow the protocols set forth by the Maine CDC and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for medical workers who have been in contact with Ebola patients.”

At a press conference last night, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew reviewed CDC protocol for healthcare workers who travel to Maine after working with Ebola patients. Those include a ‘voluntary’ 21-day at-home quarantine and daily check-ins with the state’s epidemiologist.

Mayhew said at Tuesday’s press conference that state officials will take legal action against anyone who does not comply with the protocol. She refused, however, to comment directly on Hickox’s case.

In Wednesday’s press release, LePage went on to say, “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. We are very concerned about her safety and health and that of the community. We are exploring all of our options for protecting the health and well-being of the healthcare worker, anyone who comes in contact with her, the Fort Kent community and all of Maine. While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits our great state.”

LePage’s office is working collaboratively with State health officials within DHHS to seek legal authority to enforce the quarantine. State agencies, including the State Police will monitor the residence in Fort Kent where Hickox is staying, for both her protection and the health of the community.

Mainers have expressed mixed emotions about her treatment by State agencies and her claims to ignore DHHS protocols. Many have taken to social media sites like Facebook to express everything from support to outrage.

Next: DHHS Commissioner Clarifies Ebola Protocol

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