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Maine Judge Rejects State's Bid To Restrict Nurse's Movements

Nurse Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, take delivery of a pizza at their home in Fort Kent, Maine, on Thursday. A judge has ruled that the state cannot compel Hickox to remain in isolation if she's not showing signs of Ebola infection.
Robert F. Bukaty
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. ET

A judge in Maine has turned down a request by state officials seeking authority to compel nurse Kaci Hickox to remain in her home for the duration of a 21-day incubation for Ebola. Since returning from West Africa, where she treated Ebola patients, Hickox has refused to accept a voluntary quarantine.

Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere, the chief judge of the Maine District Courts, ruled Friday that Hickox should continue self-monitoring and coordinate her travels with state officials, but said since she's not showing any symptoms of the disease, she's not infectious.

LaVerdiere's ruling follows a temporary order issued earlier today in which he restricted the movements of the nurse, who would pass the incubation period for Ebola on Nov. 10.

Hickox, 33, has been in a high-profile standoff with authorities for days since she returned from Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone last weekend, repeatedly refusing to isolate herself. She says she has twice tested negative for the potentially deadly virus and has shown no symptoms of the disease.

The AP says: "Police remained outside her home Friday. Fort Kent Police Chief Tom Pelletier went inside the home briefly Friday morning and said afterward, 'We just had a good conversation.' He said he was not there to arrest or detain her."

As we reported on Thursday, Hickox defied Maine's request to stay indoors for the duration of Ebola's 21-day incubation period. She and her boyfriend set out on a bike ride from their rural home.

Shortly afterward, Gov. Paul LePage said he would use "the full extent" of his authority to force Hickox to comply with a quarantine.

Update at 2:20 p.m. ET. 'Humbled' By Decision:

Speaking to reporters outside her home, Hickox said she was "humbled" by the decision of the judge, calling it a "good compromise."

Hickox said the decision offers "human conditions" for health care workers coming back from countries with Ebola outbreaks.

"As a global community we can end Ebola," Hickox said. The discussion that her case has sparked, she said, is part of that journey.

She added that she will continue to comply with the CDC-recommended "direct active monitoring."

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.