York governor spells out new rules on Ebola quarantine
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[October 27, 2014]
By Ellen Wulfhorst and Frank McGurty
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Governor
Andrew Cuomo on Sunday spelled out the specifics of a new policy to
quarantine some people returning from Ebola-stricken West Africa, saying
the state wanted to protect public safety while encouraging medical
workers to go and fight against disease.
New York will ask healthcare professionals or passengers arriving in
New York who had exposure to people infected with Ebola and reside
in the state to stay in their homes for 21 days, the governor said
at a news conference with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Those in quarantine could receive visitors and see family members
during their isolation, Cuomo said. The state will make alternative
arrangements for non-residents deemed to be at high risk but without
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,
the state will require twice-a-day temperature checks for 21 days,
at a minimum, it said in a statement after the press conference.
The governor said New York was making no change in its policy from
what was announced on Friday during a press conference with Governor
Chris Christie of New Jersey, which announced the same rules.
Illinois followed suit on Saturday. That accounts for three of the
five U.S. states with airports authorized to receive travelers from
the three stricken West African nations. The other two, Virginia and
Georgia, have yet to announce policy changes.
Earlier the New York Times, citing unnamed Obama administration
officials, said the White House was putting pressure on Cuomo and
Christie to backtrack on the new rules, which exceed federal
Only one or two people a day who arrive at New York City's John F.
Kennedy International Airport fall into the category that would
require them to go into isolation, said Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, the
city's health commissioner.
Under quarantine, local officials, in coordination with state health
officials, will make at least two unannounced visits a day to check
on the person and ensure that he or she is complying with the
quarantine order, the statement said.
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The Department of Health or local health department will, if needed,
coordinate care services such as food and medicine. The state would
also provide financial assistance for 21 days for quarantined people
"We're trying to balance aid to West Africa and protection and the
public health of New Yorkers and addressing the fear and concern of
New Yorkers," Cuomo said.
He said the state wanted to encourage health workers to go to West
Africa to treat Ebola patients, responding to concerns that
mandatory quarantines would keep doctors and nurses away from the
"This is a war on a virus in West Africa," Cuomo said in the joint
news conference with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
(Reporting by Frank McGurty and Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Eric
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