The nurse who was forced into quarantine after she landed in New Jersey, traveling from West Africa where she treated Ebola patients, will be discharged from the hospital and transported to Maine, state officials said Monday.
This undated image provided by University of Texas at Arlington shows Kaci Hickox. In a Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014 telephone interview with CNN, Hickox, the nurse quarantined at a New Jersey hospital because she had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa, said the process of keeping her isolated is "inhumane." (AP/University of Texas at Arlington)
Nurse Kaci Hickox, who had been serving patients in Sierra Leone and flew back into Newark Liberty Airport Friday, criticized her treatment during the whole ordeal as making her feel like a criminal and prisoner. At the time she was taken into quarantine and tested for Ebola, Hickox had developed a fever, according to the health department.
"Since testing negative for Ebola on early Saturday morning, the patient being monitored in isolation at University Hospital in Newark has thankfully been symptom free for the last 24 hours," New Jersey Department of Health said in a statement Monday. "As a result, and after being evaluated in coordination with the CDC and the treating clinicians at University Hospital, the patient is being discharged."
Because Hickox had direct exposure to Ebola patients, the department said she is still under the state's mandatory quarantine order, which was announced by Gov. Chris Christie over the weekend. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a similar order but later scaled it back.
"After consulting with her, she has requested transport to Maine, and that transport will be arranged via a private carrier not via mass transit or commercial aircraft," the statement from the health department continued. "She will remain subject to New Jersey's mandatory quarantine order while in New Jersey. Health officials in Maine have been notified of her arrangements and will make a determination under their own laws on her treatment when she arrives."
While in isolation, the health department said it made sure she was comfortable with access to a computer, cellphone, reading material and nourishment of choice.
Hickox hired a lawyer and intends to file a civil rights lawsuit over her treatment. The nation's top infectious disease control doctor also said over the weekend that placing mandatory quarantines on health workers who served Ebola patients could have unintended consequences.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that as a physician and scientist, he would not have recommended a quarantine. In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Fauci said that active and direct monitoring can accomplish the same thing as a quarantine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.