Gov. Andrew Cuomo Loosens Ebola Quarantine Rules Following White House Pressure

On the same day that The New York Times reported President Barack Obama was pressuring the governors of New Jersey and New York to rescind their state’s mandatory quarantines of healthcare workers returning from West Africa after treating Ebola patients, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is significantly loosening those restrictions, according to the Times.

In a story published late Sunday night (Oct. 26), reporters Marc Santora and Michael D. Shear detailed Cuomo’s loosening of Ebola quarantines.

“Under the revised guidelines, New York State would allow all returning health care workers who have had contact with Ebola patients but have no symptoms of illness to return to their homes, where they would be confined; their health would be monitored for 21 days.”

“They would be transported by private vehicle, arranged by the New York State Department of Health or the local health department. While under confinement, there would be at least two unannounced visits by local officials, in coordination with state health officials, each day to check the individual’s condition as well as ensure that the individual is complying with the state order.”

“The New York State or local health department will, if needed, coordinate care services such as food and medicine.”

“If a person arrives from one of the affected areas with no symptoms and had no direct contact with anyone infected with the Ebola virus, there will be no home confinement. Health officials will monitor these individuals twice a day for temperature and other symptoms until the 21-day incubation period is over.”

“Governor Cuomo, who asked for patience from those who will be affected, also said the state would provide financial assistance where needed.”

Cuomo loosening Ebola quarantines comes the same day that nurse Kaci Hickox went public on television and in newspapers with her complaints about being quarantined, even though she shows no symptoms following her return to New Jersey from West Africa where she was treating Ebola patients.

She was quoted by USA Today as saying her’s “is not a situation I would wish on anyone.”

Mediaite notes that the ACLU has come down hard on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the mandatory Ebola quarantines, even before Cuomo loosened his state’s own Ebola quarantines.

Udi Ofer, executive director of the New Jersey ACLU, was quoted by Mediaite as saying the response to Ebola “should be driven by science and facts and not by fear.”

What do you think? Is fear driving the response? And is enough being done given Cuomo’s loosened Ebola quarantine guidelines? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.