LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — California’s chief health officer issued an order Tuesday for a 21-day quarantine of anyone who arrives in the state from an Ebola-infected area and has had contact with a patient confirmed to have the potentially deadly virus.
“Today we’re establishing a statewide, standard protocol requiring some level of quarantine for those at highest risk of contracting and spreading Ebola,” state health officer Dr. Ron Chapman said. “This order will protect the health and safety of Californians and support the state’s local health officers’ existing authority to develop protections against disease spread.”
Under the order, anyone who has simply been in an Ebola-infected area country – Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone – but has not had any confirmed contact with an Ebola patient will not be subject to quarantine.
There are no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in California.
Chapman also issued guidelines that call for local health authorities to consider quarantines on a case-by-case basis. He said that such quarantine can include isolation at home, or can be tailored to allow greater movement for people considered at lower risk.
Los Angeles County health officials say they are being notified when people arrive in the county from affected regions. Those people are being monitored, but are not considered at risk of developing the disease.
“Not everyone who has been to an Ebola-affected area should be considered high risk,” Chapman said. “This order will allow local health officers to determine, for those coming into California, who is most at risk for developing this disease, and to contain any potential spread of infectious disease by responding to those risks appropriately.”
The announcement of the quarantine order came as a nurse who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone is threatening legal action against Maine over a 21-day quarantine order. Kaci Hickox was originally quarantined at an isolation tent in Newark, New Jersey, but was released and allowed to travel to Maine.
“I will go to court to attain my freedom,” Hickox told “Good Morning America.” “I have been completely asymptomatic since I’ve been here. I feel absolutely great.”
Chapman said any health care workers who have been in Ebola-affected areas and who may come to California will be “treated with respect and dignity when they come home.”
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