A nurse who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone can move about as she pleases after a Maine judge eased state-imposed restrictions on her, handing officials in Maine a defeat in the nation’s biggest court case yet over how to balance personal liberty, public safety and fear of Ebola.
Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere ruled Friday that Kaci Hickox must continue daily monitoring of her health but said there is no need to isolate her or restrict her movements because she has no symptoms and is therefore not contagious.
The judge also decried the “misconceptions, misinformation, bad science and bad information” circulating about the lethal disease in the U.S.
After the ruling, a state police cruiser that had been posted outside Hickox’s home left.
Hickox, 33, called it “a good day” and said her “thoughts, prayers and gratitude” remain with those who are still battling Ebola in West Africa.
Maine health officials had gone to court on Thursday in an attempt to bar her from crowded public places and require her to stay at least 3 feet from others until the 21-day incubation period for Ebola was up on Nov. 10. But the judge turned the state down.
Gov. Paul LePage said he disagreed with the ruling but will abide by it. Officials said there are no plans to appeal.