New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in an updated New York Ebola quarantine protocol that asymptomatic Ebola medical workers and other travelers who have had direct contact with Ebola patients who arrive from the three African countries that are most plagued the disease can now be quarantined at home
Is the New York Ebola Quarantine Really a Quarantine?
So people who have had contact with Ebola patients can stay with their families and friends, and they can have visitors as long as health officials approves them. This raises some questions. Can family members come and go as they please, and since they can have visitors, is this really a quarantine?
The Doctors Without Borders medical workers who are quarantined at home will receive their pay as usual during the quarantine as part of Doctors Without Borders rules. Other people who are not a part of Doctors Without Borders and do not have similar arrangements, will still get compensation to cover housing (rent or mortgage) etc.
The New York Ebola quarantine policy change states that anyone who does not have symptoms but had direct contact with people who have been infected with Ebola will be transported to their homes courtesy of either the New York State Department of Health or a local health department. Those who do not have homes will have other accommodations provided for them.
Checking Up on Those Under Quarantine
Under the New York quarantine protocol, officials will check the person’s condition twice a day through unannounced visits to the person’s home. The visits are purposed to make sure that the asymptomatic person still does not have symptoms of the disease during the quarantined period. The visits will also prove that person is following the quarantine guidelines.
On October 23, 2014 Mayor Bill de Blasio, mayor of the City of New York stated in a joint press conference with New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo that there was no was no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed because Ebola is contracted through blood or other infected body fluids from an infected person, not through casual contact. He went on to say that New York has been preparing for Ebola for months, and that every hospital in the city is prepared.
Dr. Craig Spencer, now quarantined at Bellevue Hospital is the first Ebola patient in New York. He has now entered the second phase of the disease. Mayor de Blasio said during his October 23rd speech that the health department has a team of disease detectives who were finding all of Spencer’s contacts, and New York was prepared to quarantine his contacts as necessary.
Governor Cuomo recently released a new fact sheet with the plans for the quarantine from the deadly virus after the White House convinced him to change the protocol, according to the New York Times. Cuomo’s fact sheet stated that quarantined people who do not show symptoms of the virus will stay in their homes for 21 days.
Medical workers and other people with symptoms of Ebola will still be quarantined immediately, according to the updated New York Ebola quarantine policy. New York’s quarantine fact sheet released on October 26, 2014, stated that those persons will be transported to one of three hospitals in New York chosen for Ebola treatment.
Prior to the update, New York had planned to keep people who have had direct contact with Ebola patients away from family and friends. One medical worker, Kaci Hickox who arrived to New York from Africa had allegedly had a fever and has been confined in a tent near University Hospital in Newark. She now does not have any signs of Ebola and tested negative. Apparently she had a fever at one point, but it was probably not because of the disease. Hickox told CNN that the isolation was unacceptable.
People who arrive into New York who have no symptoms and have not had direct contact with Ebola patients but arrive from one of the three areas with the highest number of Ebola patients will have decisions made about them on a case-by-case basis, according to the newly released New York Ebola quarantine protocol.