Ebola Nurse Fights Second Quarantine In Maine
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
The nurse who has been making news for challenging mandatory Ebola quarantines is back at home in Fort Kent, Maine, but Kaci Hickox says he does not intend to comply with Maine's guidelines that call for her to remain isolated at home. Hickox voiced her objections this morning on the "Today" show.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE TODAY SHOW")
KACI HICKOX: I'm not going to sit around and be bullied by politicians and forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public.
BLOCK: Maine's commissioner of Health and Human Services, Mary Mayhew, held a news conference this afternoon in response to Kaci Hickox's comments.
Mal Leary of Maine Public Radio joins us to talk about that and Mal, what are state officials in Maine saying they're going to do?
MAL LEARY: Well, Melissa, Commissioner Mayhew is saying that she believes the state is right going to court because Kaci Hickox is refusing to self-quarantine. Of course, Kaci Hickox is saying she doesn't have any symptoms so she doesn't impose any public health risk, but the commissioner was emphatic at the news conference that she does pose a public health risk until that 21 day incubation period is over.
BLOCK: Well, what would happen if Kaci Hickox decides to walk out of the home, go to a grocery store, go out for a walk?
LEARY: Well, the state trooper is sitting outside her home in a cruiser and they're there to enforce any court order that actually is issued. But he's also there to protect her because there are some folks in the Fort Kent area who on social media sites have made it clear they don't like the idea of her leaving her home until she's been cleared so I suspect that the trooper is there to enforce the court order, as well.
BLOCK: Court order - but the state as of this point does not have a court order, right?
LEARY: The commissioner has - cannot even say whether they've gone to court yet to seek that order. The law has a very high standard. It must be clear and convincing evidence that the person poses an imminent threat to public health or safety so I suspect the lawyers want to make sure that all of that paperwork is in order before they go before a judge and say, we want you to mandate this person to have a quarantine.
BLOCK: In the meantime Kaci Hickox herself has a lawyer - a civil liberties lawyer - who says, look, you would be violating her civil rights if you try to do this.
LEARY: And he's made it very clear he will go into Maine court to oppose any action the state proposes.
BLOCK: OK. Mal Leary with Maine Public Radio talking with us from Augusta.
Mal, thanks so much.
LEARY: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.