NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A health care worker who was quarantined at Newark Liberty International Airport after returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa developed a fever and was being evaluated Friday night.
The woman was the first person quarantined under a new screening system announced earlier Friday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The woman landed at Newark after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said at the news conference. A legal quarantine was issued for the woman, who was not a New Jersey resident and was set to go on to New York afterward.
“This woman, while her home residence is outside the area, said her next stop was going to be here in New York,” Christie said. “Governor Cuomo and I discussed it before we came out here, and a quarantine order will be issued.”
At the time, she was not experiencing any symptoms. But Friday evening, she developed a fever and was in isolation at University Hospital in Newark, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.
As CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported, police blocked off an entrance to the hospital late Friday and security guards were standing by.
An ambulance was seen leaving the hospital escorted by two police vehicles around 10 p.m., but officials said the woman remained at the hospital and still had a fever.
Christie issued a tweet on the new development.
The New Jersey Department of Health could not say what flight the woman was on or whether other passengers were involved. The Centers for Disease Control told CBS 2 it was unaware of the incident.
The new quarantine plan came a day after Dr. Craig Spencer became the first confirmed Ebola patient in New York City.
Spencer reported Thursday morning, coming down with a fever and diarrhea and is being treated in an isolation ward at Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center.
In the wake of that revelation, Cuomo and Christie announced the new screening and quarantine rules Friday afternoon.
Under the new rules, state officials will establish a risk level by considering the countries that people have visited and their level of possible exposure to Ebola.
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The patients with the highest level of possible exposure will be automatically quarantined for 21 days at a government-regulated facility. As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, those patients include anyone having direct contact with a person infected with Ebola while in Liberia, Guinea, or Sierra Leone.
Those with a lower risk will be monitored for temperature and symptoms, Cuomo explained.
Two people on Long Island were also affected by the new screening rules. The Suffolk County Health Department said the travelers landed at JFK after a trip to West Africa, and were not sick when they arrived.
But pursuant to the new rules, they will be monitored for 21 days.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, travelers at Newark Airport Friday night said the new and stricter measures are necessary.
“I think it’s a sensible thing to do,” said traveler Dave Fairfax. “I mean, it’s a big problem in Africa right now, and you know, we’ve seen already that it can spread to the U.S. We’ve had cases here. So I’m in favor of it personally.”
“I think it’s important to take it seriously,” added traveler Kate O’Connor. “I don’t know about mandatory stuff, that’s kind of scary. But it s serious. I work in health care so I’m concerned.”
The CDC is reviewing its policy for health care workers returning from West Africa, but anyone flying into a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey airport will need to abide by the new procedures.
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