- The Washington Times - Friday, October 31, 2014

Maine health officials are asking a court to restrict the movements of a nurse who worked with Ebola patients in West Africa, increasing the pressure in the high-profile case that’s testing the balance between the public health response to the disease and personal freedoms.

The petition, filed Thursday, asks that 33-year old nurse Kaci Hickox refrain from going into public places like shopping malls or coming within three feet of others when walking or jogging.

A judge signed a temporary order Thursday until a further order expected Friday, and police are monitoring Ms. Hickox, The Associated Press reported.

Ms. Hickox, who registered a slight fever at Newark Liberty International Airport last week, has left her home multiple times and insists she does not pose a public health threat since she’s showing no symptoms of Ebola.

She says she’s following the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation of daily monitoring, though several states such as Maine, as well as the U.S. military, are going beyond such guidelines.

After a highly publicized spat with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over her weekend of quarantine, Ms. Hickox was released to Maine on Monday but made it clear she would not comply with state protocols that call for her to voluntary quarantine in her home.

President Obama has indirectly rebuked state leaders for pushing quarantine rules that go beyond the science of Ebola contagion, but White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest said Friday morning it’s up to state and local leaders to decide on their own quarantine or monitoring policies.

“There have been extensive conversations between CDC officials and public health officials in Maine about how exactly to best protect the people of Maine,” Mr. Earnest said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Those conversations are ongoing. But ultimately, you know, we can’t have a situation where the president of the United States is dictating these specific outcomes in specific states.”

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