Doctors Without Borders nurse Kaci Hickox was discharged Monday from medical isolation in New Jersey after testing negative for Ebola, the state Health Department said. Hickox was quarantined in a hospital after she developed a fever upon landing at Newark airport Friday, returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.
“Since testing negative for Ebola early Saturday morning, the patient being monitored in isolation has thankfully been symptom-free for the last 24 hours,” the New Jersey Department of Health said. “After being evaluated by CDC and her clinicians, the patient is being discharged. Since the patient had direct exposure to individuals suffering from Ebola virus in one of the three West African nations, she is subject to a mandatory New Jersey quarantine order.”
At her request, New Jersey officials have provided Hickox, 33, with private transport to Maine, where state health officials will decide whether the nurse must remain in quarantine. Hickox will be placed back into mandatory quarantine if she returns to New Jersey in the next 21 days.
“She was cared for in a monitored area of the hospital with an advanced tenting system that was recently toured and evaluated by the CDC. While in isolation, every effort was made to ensure that she remained comfortable with access to a computer, cell phone, reading material and nourishment of choice,” the Health Department statement said.
Hickox has been openly critical of her treatment at the hands of state health officials. She said she was kept in isolation despite the fact that she never displayed Ebola symptoms. Moreover, she asserted that she never developed a fever and that her face was flushed because she was outraged over the way she was being treated, NBC New York reports. "This is an extreme that is really unacceptable, and I feel like my basic human rights have been violated," Hickox told CNN.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all medical workers who had treated Ebola patients in West Africa would be subject to mandatory quarantine upon their return to the states. “It’s always been about her condition,” Christie said, according to the New York Times. “And if her condition permits release, then we will work with the state officials in Maine to make sure she could go home.”