The nurse released after kept in a New Jersey isolation tent for three days upon her return from West Africa said that she will not abide by Maine health officials' recommendation that she continue to comply with a 21-day quarantine at home.
Kaci Hickox said that if Maine’s restrictions are not lifted by Thursday, “I will go to court to fight for my freedom.”
Hickox spoke out against her quarantine on NBC’s “Today” show via Skype, saying she is thankful to be “out of the tent in Newark” but has found herself in “yet another prison” at home in Fort Kent.
Her lawyer earlier told the Bangor Daily News that Hickox has only agreed to not going out for two days.
“I don’t plan on sticking to the [quarantine] guidelines,” Hickox said on "Today." “I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me, even though I am in perfectly good health and feeling strong and have been this entire time completely symptom free.”
Hickox has shown no symptoms of the deadly virus since she treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for four weeks. An initial 101-degree temperature taken by a forehead scanner upon her return to the U.S. was because she was "flushed and upset" by her treatment at Newark Liberty International Airport, she has said.
Maine’s health officials said on Tuesday they're preparing to legally enforce the state’s "voluntary" quarantine on health care workers who've treated Ebola patients. Hickox's would end on Nov. 10.
“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” Hickox said.
Hickox said that the organization she worked with, Doctors Without Borders, already had “reasonable” steps in place, including self-monitoring, taking one’s temperature twice a day and getting tested for Ebola if symptoms like fever develop.
Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, said in a statement to NBC News Wednesday it “strongly disagrees with blanket forced quarantine for health care workers returning from Ebola affected countries.” The group said it respected Hickox’s right to “challenge excessive restrictions being placed upon her.”
"Kaci Hickox has carried out important, lifesaving work for MSF in a number of countries in recent years, and we are proud to have her as a member of our organization," the group said.
Hickox said quarantines are a deterrent to other would-be volunteers aiming to combat Ebola in West Africa. But Hickox said she plans to eventually return to Sierra Leone.