The Slatest

Nurse Says She Won’t Obey Ebola Quarantine; Maine Looks to Enforce Mandatory Isolation

The Maine home of Kaci Hickox’s boyfriend, where she is reported to be under voluntary quarantine.


Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox has returned home to Maine after briefly being quarantined in New Jersey upon her arrival from West Africa. That doesn’t mean she intends to stay there however. Hickox, who is currently in voluntary quarantine, has threatened legal action against the state if it tries to enforce an extended mandatory quarantine. “If the restrictions placed on me by the state of Maine are not lifted by Thursday morning, I will go to court to fight for my freedom,” Hickox told NBC’s Today show on Wednesday.

State officials, however, are preparing to enforce a mandatory quarantine of the Doctors Without Borders nurse, who recently spent time in Sierra Leone fighting the Ebola outbreak there. Maine Gov. Paul LePage said that if Hickox was “unwilling” to abide by the state’s 21-day quarantine policy—which would keep her isolated until Nov. 10—the state would seek a court order to quarantine her.  

“Hickox has agreed to daily monitoring, as recommended in updated Ebola guidelines released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” according to the Washington Post. “That involves twice-daily temperature readings and daily in-person visits with a CDC official.” Hickox has not shown any symptoms of the virus and while the CDC recommends restricted movements for non-symptomatic individuals with Ebola exposure, it does not call for isolation. “I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” Hickox told the Today show.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of Ebola.