All but daring Maine health authorities to go to court to have her confined, nurse Kaci Hickox went out on a bike ride in defiance of the state’s voluntary quarantine for medical workers who have treated ebola patients.
It was the second time in two days that she left her home in remote northern Maine, along the Canadian border. On Wednesday, Hickox came out and briefly spoke to reporters, even shaking a hand that was offered to her.
State officials planned to go to court to have her confined against her will in what is shaping up as a test case yet in the struggle to balance public health and fear of ebola against personal freedom.
Hickox, 33, said she hoped for a compromise, but her actions indicated she had no intention of staying in isolation for the remainder of the 21-day incubation period that ends on November 10.
“I really hope we can work things out amicably and continue to negotiate,” she said as she and her boyfriend cycled.
A police cruiser followed Hickox on her hour-long bike ride, but police could not take action to detain her without a court order signed by a judge.
After returning from Africa, where she treated ebola victims in Sierra Leone, Hickox last week became subject to a mandatory quarantine in New Jersey.
After being released, she returned to this small town, where she was placed under what Maine authorities called a voluntary quarantine.
She said she is following the federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation of daily monitoring for fever and other signs of the disease. But she said she is no threat to others because she has no symptoms.
Meanwhile, Louisiana state officials told thousands of doctors planning to attend a tropical-diseases meeting this weekend in New Orleans to stay away if they have been to certain African countries or have had contact with an ebola patient in the last 21 days.