FORT KENT, Maine – A nurse who was confined against her will at a New Jersey hospital after returning from West Africa where she treated Ebola patients said Wednesday that she’s prepared to go to court if the state of Maine tries to quarantine her.
Kaci Hickox spoke to NBC’s “Today” show and ABC’s “Good Morning America” from Fort Kent, where her boyfriend is a senior nursing student.
She said she has so far abided by the state’s voluntary quarantine. She had no contact with anyone Tuesday and will have no human contact again Wednesday, she said.
But Hickox says if the restrictions aren’t lifted by Thursday, she will go to court to fight for her freedom.
“I don’t plan on sticking to the guidelines,” Hickox said on “Today”. “I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me even though I am in perfectly good health.”
Hickox, who volunteered in Africa with Doctors Without Borders, was the first person forced into New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine for people arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport from three West African countries.
Hickox, who spent the weekend in a quarantine tent, said she never had Ebola symptoms and tested negative in a preliminary evaluation, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo were sharply criticized for ordering mandatory quarantines.
“I am 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,” she said.
On Tuesday, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew said her department and the attorney general’s office were prepared to take legal steps to legally enforce the state’s voluntary quarantine if someone declines to cooperate.
“We do not want to have to legally enforce in-home quarantine,” she said. “We’re confident that selfless health workers who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect residents of their own country.”
Hickox said Wednesday that she remains concerned by the mandatory quarantines.
“I truly believe that this policy is not scientifically or constitutionally just,” she said.