Woman Quarantined At University Hospital Speaks Out In Published Report


NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A preliminary test for Ebola has come back negative for a health care worker who was quarantined in New Jersey after returning from West Africa and developing a fever, health officials said.

On Saturday, the New Jersey Department of Health said she remains under observation and in isolation at University Hospital in Newark.

Dallasnews.com published a piece Saturday afternoon that was written by the health care worker quarantined at University Hospital who tested negative for Ebola. The article’s editors note said that the woman wrote the piece with the help of Dr. Seema Yasmin, a Dallas Morning News staff writer.

The woman, identified by Dallasnews.com as nurse Kaci Hickox, said she felt she was made to feel like a criminal after disclosing that she had worked with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.

“This is not a situation I would wish on anyone, and I am scared for those who will follow me,” she wrote. “…I am scared that, like me, they will arrive and see a frenzy of disorganization, fear and, most frightening, quarantine.”

Hickox goes on to write that her fever was only detected on a forehead scanner because she was flustered after being held for hours with little information, food and water.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito says the nurse has a point.

“We have to look at every doctor, every nurse, every health care provider that volunteers their time to serve in these voluntary organizations as heroes,” she told 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten.

Despite testing negative for Ebola in a preliminary test, it is expected that she will be held for the full 21-day quarantine under the guidelines issued by New York and New Jersey officials.

EXTRA: More On Ebola From The CDC

Doctors at the hospital said they are in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the health department for consultation and to determine if further tests are needed, WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported.

The woman was placed in mandatory quarantine after landing at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday and disclosed to airport screening staff that she had treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, CBS 2’s Ilana Gold reported.

Despite not presenting any symptoms at the time of her quarantine, state official did not want to take any chances, Gold reported. Hours later, she came down with a fever.

“After the CDC alerted the New Jersey Department of Health, they made the determination that a legal quarantine order will be issued,” Gov. Chris Christie said.

The woman was the first person quarantined under a new screening system announced earlier Friday by Gov. Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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.

The patients with the highest level of possible exposure will be automatically quarantined for 21 days at a government-regulated facility.

Those with a lower risk will be monitored for temperature and symptoms, Cuomo explained.

De Blasio says he wasn’t consulted before Christie and Cuomo imposed the new regulations, but as WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, he refused to get in any political ramifications.

“This is not about feelings.  This is not about personality. This is a crisis in which we all have to hang together to protect our people,” he said.

He stressed Saturday afternoon that is exactly what’s been happening, denying any suggestion of a divided response.

“There has been nonstop coordination and communication between the state of New York and the City of New York.  The two health commissioners have been talking multiple times a day for weeks.  I’ve been speaking to the governor constantly,” de Blasio said.

The mayor said the state has a right to make decisions and the city will work with them.

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