Following confirmation of a doctor contracting Ebola in New York, the states of New York and New Jersey have announced a screening system that supersedes guidelines established by the federal government.
The new procedures announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie do not include banning flights from West Africa from entering the country.
The new procedures were implemented after Dr. Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, returned to New York and passed a CDC screening procedure at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Spencer had contact with the public before reporting to a hospital. He took the subway, walked the High Line – linear park built on a section of an unused New York Central Railroad spur – and went bowling in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the day before he became sick.
“He was a doctor, and even he didn’t follow the guidelines,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Friday afternoon.
“We believe it’s appropriate to increase the current screening procedures from people coming from affected countries from the current (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention screening procedures),” Cuomo said. “We believe it within the State of New York and the State of New Jersey’s legal rights.”
Travelers from affected West African countries will be subject to the new rules. Those determined to have exposure to the disease will be quarantined for 21 days at a government supervised facility. Specific procedures for quarantine and hospitalization will be determined by New York and New Jersey health departments.
“Voluntary quarantine – you know it’s almost an oxymoron. This is a very serious situation.” Cuomo said during a news conference. “Voluntary quarantine – raise your right hand and promise you’re going to stay home for 21 days. We’ve seen what happens.”
Christie said New Jersey has “very aggressive authority” to enforce a mandatory quarantine.
WCBS 880 in New York reported patients include anyone having direct contact with a person infected with Ebola while in Liberia, Guinea, or Sierra Leone.
“It’s too serious a situation to leave it to the honor system,” Cuomo said.