Health Law

Maine judge rules that nurse with no Ebola symptoms is free to move about

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A Maine judge has rebuffed state health officials and ruled that nurse Kaci Hickox shows no symptoms of Ebola and thus can move about freely in public.

Fort Kent Circuit Court Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere had issued a temporary order (PDF) yesterday for Hickox to avoid public places and stay 3 feet away from others. In today’s ruling, he said he is “fully aware that people are acting out of fear and that this fear is not entirely rational,” the Associated Press reported.

Restrictions sought by Thursday’s temporary order also included not using commercial or public transportation and not leaving the Fort Kent area without consulting with public health officials.

Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, had petitioned the judge to impose the restrictions until the 21-day incubation period for Ebola ends for Hickox on Nov. 10. Hickox treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone and was put under mandatory quarantine in New Jersey after landing in Newark on her return. Upon release from a hospital there, she returned to Fort Kent.

Hickox has said she is following guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by monitoring her temperature daily and being alert for symptoms of the disease.

In his ruling, Judge LaVerdiere thanked her for her service in Africa.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage said the state will follow the ruling but called it “unfortunate.”

See also:

NBC News: “Kaci Hickox Slams Christie For ‘Abundance of Politics’ on Ebola”

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