Kaci Hickox, the Maine nurse who was under isolation at her home over Ebola fears, ended the voluntary quarantine by walking out of her house Wednesday while local police officials watched, according to reports. After leaving her house, she reportedly walked up to a journalist and shook hands.
Hickox spoke to reporters outside her house and reiterated her plans to counter the state’s plan of imposing a mandatory quarantine and said that she did not have to be subject to isolation because she had tested negative for the virus and had not shown any symptoms so far. Health officials in Maine have sought a court order to legally force her to be confined. However, because the judge had not signed the order yet, police officials could only watch from a distance as Hickox stepped out, ending her quarantine.
"I'm not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it's not science-based," Hickox said, according to The Associated Press, or AP.
Hickox’s lawyer Norman Seigel said, according to AP, that she is not willing to cooperate until the state removes “all or most of the restrictions.”
Maine, and several other states, implemented a new rule last week asking people returning from Ebola-affected West African nations to remain in voluntary isolation for 21 days. Hickox was initially quarantined in a makeshift tent at New Jersey's Newark International Airport upon her return from Sierra Leone last week. She was later transported to her home in Maine.
Meanwhile, a father in Connecticut has sued the school district for refusing to allow his daughter into class over Ebola concerns after she returned from a trip to Nigeria to attend a family wedding. This may be the first lawsuit against the state over the Ebola virus, Bloomberg reported.
Stephen Opayemi said in the complaint, according to Bloomberg, that Milford School Superintendent Elizabeth Feser said that his 7-year-old daughter would be taken away by police officials if she attended school on Oct. 20. The school also reportedly told Opayemi’s family that the girl would not be allowed into the school until Nov. 3, when the 21-day quarantine period would end. Opayemi also said that his daughter did not display any symptoms of Ebola and had reportedly offered to have her tested.
“In addressing this situation, at all times, my staff and I proceeded in good faith to respond to this public health issue,” Feser said, according to Bloomberg, adding: “We acted in the best interest of all of our students and staff.”
The Ebola virus, which has so far killed nearly 5,000 people and has infected more than 10,000 people, mostly in West Africa, has affected four people in the U.S.