The governors of New York and New Jersey announced Friday afternoon that they were ordering all people entering the country through two area airports who had direct contact with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to be quarantined.
The announcement comes one day after an American doctor, who had worked in Guinea and returned to New York City earlier in October, tested positive for Ebola and became the first New York patient of the deadly virus.
“A voluntary Ebola quarantine is not enough,” said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York. “This is too serious a public health situation.”
And here's how the first mandatory quarantine went:
A health care worker quarantined at a New Jersey hospital because she had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa is sharply criticizing the way she's been treated.In a first-person account in the Dallas Morning News, Kaci Hickox wrote Saturday that she encountered fear and disorganization when she arrived Friday at Newark Liberty International Airport. She was stopped and questioned over several hours and was left without food for an extended period, she wrote. No one would explain what was going on or what would happen to her, she said in the piece, which was written with the help of a Dallas Morning News staff writer.Government officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Jersey Department of Health and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.Hickox is a nurse who had been working with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone. Officials have said she was taken to a hospital after developing a fever, but Hickox wrote that she was merely flushed because she was upset.Hickox tested negative for Ebola in a preliminary evaluation. Hospital officials won't say whether she will remain quarantined in the hospital for the entire 21 days.In a statement, Doctors Without Borders said the organization is "very concerned about the conditions and uncertainty (Hickox) is facing and is attempting to obtain information from hospital officials.""While measures to protect public health are of paramount importance, they must be balanced against the rights of health workers returning from fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to fair and reasonable treatment and the full disclosure of information to them, along with information about intended courses of action from local and state health authorities," the organization said.
As I noted last night, Christie and Cuomo went public with this mandatory quarantine declaration well before they actually have a plan to carry it out.
These two clowns can't get the PATH trains to run well, so you can imagine how swimmingly this mandatory quarantine is going to go.
With the New York and New Jersey governors now apparently sticking anybody they suspect of contact with an Ebola patient into detention for an undisclosed period of time, you can be sure fewer health care professionals are going to want to go and help out with the epidemic in West Africa.
In effect, Cuomo's and Christie's playing politics with the Ebola crisis here in the New York metro area could cause the disease to spread wider.