Christie changes course, allows nurse to leave

10/27/14
 
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from MSNBC,
10/27/14:

One day after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he had “no second thoughts” about forcing a quarantine on a nurse, Kaci Hickox, who had tested negative for Ebola, the Republican loosened his grip and agreed to transfer her to Maine where she lives.

The governor’s office announced Monday morning in a statement that the nurse – after being symptom-free for the last 24 hours – would adhere to her request to be moved to the state. At that point, Maine can “make a determination under their own laws” on whether to continue the quarantine, the statement read.

Both Christie and his office have pushed hard to justify the nurse’s quarantine, arguing that she had been symptomatic after returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She disputed this from the start, writing in an Op-Ed in a Dallas newspaper Sunday that airport officials used an unreliable forehead thermometer while she was flushed after being questioned for hours and upon arriving at the hospital, it was clear she wasn’t symptomatic.

“[S]he was ill. She was obviously ill enough that the CDC and medical officials hospitalized her and gave her an Ebola test… They don’t do that just for fun,” Christie said from Florida to the media on Monday. “So there’s been no reversal or change in any way of our policy or our approach.”

Despite his office’s insistence to the contrary, her release was only announced after much criticism of her forced quarantine. On Sunday, Hickox hired a lawyer to challenge the legality of her detainment in a tent at University Hospital in Newark and the American Civil Liberties Union questioned Christie’s constitutional authority and asked him to explain the legality of what he’d done. The White House reportedly pushed states to drop the policy, worrying it was medically unnecessary and it could disincentivize medical volunteers badly needed in West Africa, though a Christie spokesman said Sunday night no one had reached out to them.

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