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Health

Judge's Order Restricting Nurse More Lenient Than State Requested

A Maine District Court Judge has issued a temporary order to restrict the activities of Fort Kent nurse Kaci Hickox who recently returned from Sierra Leone where she treated Ebola patients.

But rather than require Hickox to keep three feet away from other members of the public as the state had requested, the judge has granted a more lenient temporary order.

David Soley is the Maine attorney who represented Hickox in a conference with the court this morning.

"He did restrict her in three ways," Soley says. "One, she has to continue with direct monitoring which she has been doing. If she travels she has to coordinate her travel with public health officials, which she's done. And in the event that she gets symptoms, which the judge was very clear that she does not have any now, she's asymptomatic. If she gets symptoms she has to report to public health authorities. That's all stuff she would be doing anyhow."

Soley says he's grateful for the order from Chief District Court Judge Charles LaVerdiere who he says recognized that Hickox is a woman who cared for and comforted people with a terrible disease and the fact that the court is fully aware that people are acting out of fear and misconceptions about Ebola. A full hearing on the order is scheduled for Tuesday.

Healthcare worker required to comply with certain restrictions

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, Gov. Paul LePage said he wasn't happy about the order, but would comply with it.

“My duty to protect the health of the individual, as well as the health and safety of 1.3 million Mainers, is my highest priority," LePage said. "Despite our best effort to work collaboratively with this individual. she has refused to cooperate with us.

“As Governor, I have done everything I can to protect the health and safety of Mainers. The judge has eased restrictions with this ruling and I believe it is unfortunate. However, the State will abide by law.”