New Jersey has decided to release a nurse who was forcibly quarantined after she returned from Africa where she treated Ebola patients.
The release was announced this morning after Kaci Hickox, hired a lawyer to sue over her mandatory quarantine for 21 days. Shortly before the decision by the New Jersey Health Department, the nurse said she hopes “this nightmare of mine and the fight that I’ve undertaken is not in vain.”
Hickox, who has no signs of the lethal virus, has announced that she intends to sue over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s policy of a 21-day mandatory quarantine for health care workers returning from helping Ebola patients in West Africa.
This morning, the nurse sent a message to ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser thanking people for taking her side.
“I’m so thankful for the immense attention and support I’ve received. I just hope this nightmare of mine and the fight that I’ve undertaken is not in vain!” Hickox wrote.
Hickox, 33, has hired civil rights attorney Norman Siegel to fight her mandatory quarantine. The nurse has said she feels that her “basic human rights are being violated,” kept in a isolation tent at Universisty Hospital in Newark, despite showing no symptoms of the Ebola virus.
“Medically speaking there’s no reason for the state of New Jersey to keep her quarantined,” Siegel said outside the hospital on Sunday. “She very simply wants to be released. We will advocate for the state of New Jersey and the governor to release her as soon as possible.”
Hickox, who was treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders, never registered a fever so there is no medical reason to keep her quarantined, he said.
She is the first person quarantined under a new strict policy instituted by Christie on Friday.
New York, Illinois and Florida also instituted mandatory quarantines for anyone exposed to people infected with Ebola health. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will allow home quarantines for people showing no symptoms, rather than requiring isolation in hospitals.
The policies have drawn the attention of the Obama administration, which told the governors of New Jersey and New York that there are “concerns” about the mandatory quarantines, a senior administration official said today.
Hickox told CNN she is being held in a “tent structure” outside of University Hospital, “with a port-a-potty like structure and no shower and no connection to the outside world except my iPhone.”
“This is an extreme that is really unacceptable, and I feel like my basic human rights have been violated,” Hickox told CNN.
Medical experts say that there is no reason for mandatory quarantines, since unless a person is showing symptoms of Ebola, they are not contagious.