A Maine court has turned up the heat on a defiant Kaci Hickox, telling the on-again, off-again quarantined nurse that she must maintain a 3-foot “buffer” from individuals and submit to mandated monitoring after she was caught riding her bike around town with her boyfriend. The American nurse recently returned from treating Ebola-infected patients in Sierra Leone and ignored the requested 3-week quarantine.
Reuters new service on Oct 31 said that Charles LaVerdiere, chief judge of the Maine District Court, issued a temporary order on the 33-year-old Hickox, ordering her to submit to “direct active monitoring” and “not to be present in public places” that are highly populated – such as supermarkets, malls or theaters. Hickox is allowed to participate in “non-congregate public activities” like taking a walk or going for a jog, but must also maintain a one meter distance from all other people. The order remains in effect until Nov. 10.
Hickox tested negative for Ebola upon her return from Sierra Leone – an epicenter for the Ebola virus in West Africa where 5,000 have already died. Declaring herself completely healthy, Hickox bucked the quarantines imposed on her in both New Jersey, where she arrived, and her home state of Maine. As seen in the video above, she vowed to take legal action.
The confrontation between Hickox and Maine has become the focal point of a dispute pitting several U.S. states opting for stringent measures to guard against Ebola against the federal government, which has expressed concern that such measures could discourage potential medical volunteers from fighting the outbreak in West Africa. – CNN
“An individual who does not have Ebola symptoms does not pose a public health threat and should not be quarantined,” the nurse’s lawyers Norman Siegel and Steven Hyman said, according to ABC.
“The Court is fully aware that people are acting out of fear and that fear is not entirely rational,” the order states in reply. “However, whether that fear is rational or not, it is present and it is real. [Hickox’s] actions at this point, as a health care professional, need to demonstrate her full understanding of human nature and the real fear that exists. She should guide herself accordingly.”
A spokesperson for Maine Governor Paul LePage’s office said prior to the judge’s ruling, negotiations with Hickox had “failed despite repeated efforts by state officials” and that he planned to “exercise the full extent of his authority allowable by law.” A state trooper now sits in front of Hickox’s home, as does a bevy of reporters and news crews.
“As Governor, I have done everything I can to protect the health and safety of Mainers,” LePage said in a statement, indicating that he had asked for Hickox to be placed in lockdown within her home. “The judge has eased restrictions with this ruling and I believe it is unfortunate. However, the State will abide by law.”
What’s your opinion? Can a one-meter safeguard be effectively enforced? Is the Maine court correct in ordering that Kaci Hickox be allowed out of her home but made to stay 3 feet away from us?