ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he is looking for ways to encourage medical workers to go to West Africa to fight Ebola.
Cuomo said he is asking the state’s hospitals to recommend incentives that the state could offer doctors, nurses and other health professionals who go to Ebola-stricken regions.
He told reporters Wednesday that medical professionals are needed in the African nations struggling with the deadly virus and that he’s like to find a “creative” way of encouraging the work.
Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s joint policy of quarantining those suspected of having direct contact with Ebola has been criticized by health experts and federal officials who say it could discourage medical workers from traveling to Africa.
This past Sunday, Cuomo backpedaled on his insistence that medical workers returning to New York from Ebola-stricken countries would have to undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine at a government-regulated facility.
The governor, in a joint news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio Sunday, said health care workers and citizens who have had exposure to Ebola patients in West Africa will be asked to stay in their homes for the 21-day quarantine.
But on Monday, Cuomo and particularly Christie faced further criticism as nurse Kaci Hickox argued that her human rights were violated when she was quarantined in a tent at University Hospital in Newark for four days after returning from West Africa. She tested negative for Ebola.
Also Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventioin also announced new safety guidelines Monday which increase the level of protection by outlining four different levels of exposure: High risk, some risk, low but not-zero and no identified risk.
The CDC recommended 21 days of isolation and travel restrictions for people at highest risk for Ebola. Those at highest risk are anyone who’s had direct contact with an Ebola patient’s body fluids, including health care workers who suffer a needle-stick injury during a patient’s care.
Absent that direct contact, simply caring for Ebola patients or traveling in West Africa doesn’t warrant quarantine conditions, the public health agency said.
Previously the CDC has recommended screening of travelers from West Africa and monitoring of people for three weeks after they arrive in the United States.
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