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Mayhew: State to Seek Court Order to Quarantine Ebola Nurse

Mal Leary

Maine Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew told reporters at a briefing Wednesday that the state will seek a court order to quarantine Kaci Hickox if she refuses to self-quarantine, as she has stated she will do. Mayhew says even though Hickox does not have any symptoms, such as a fever or nausea, she is still a public health risk until the 21-day incubation period is over.

"This individual has come out and announced that she no longer intends to voluntarily comply," Mayhew said. "We, out of an abundance of caution, need to be prepared to enforce this protocol."

Mayhew says she hopes a motion is filed soon in court, but acknowledged it had not been filed as of Wednesday evening. She believes the state can meet the high legal standard of clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a threat to public health or safety.

"I do not understand why this common sense approach - to ask someone to stay in their home for 21 days during the incubation period - why that is not a reasonable request to insure out of that abundance of caution, that we are protecting the people of this state," Mayhew said.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.