Ebola Quarantines in N.Y., N.J., Ill., Fla.: What's Required?

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on October 28, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As government officials seek to limit growing concern over the possibility of an outbreak of Ebola in the United States, several states have instituted mandatory quarantines for those who may have been exposed to the disease.

Ebola has so far caused just one fatality in America, that of Thomas Eric Duncan who died earlier this month after contracting Ebola in his native Liberia. Nevertheless, states including Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois are moving forward with new quarantines for those returning from areas affected by the Ebola outbreak.

What do these quarantines require?

  • New York and New Jersey. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have instituted mandatory quarantines along with screening protocols for major airports in New York and New Jersey. Any person who had direct contact with an infected individual in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea, including medical personnel, is subject to a mandatory 21-day quarantine (though this policy came under fire after a nurse objected to her quarantine in New Jersey over the weekend; according to The Associated Press, that nurse is now in Maine, though there's disagreement over whether she's under quarantine there). In addition, New York and New Jersey's state departments of health will be able to make determinations regarding quarantines of other individuals.
  • Florida. In Florida, an executive order signed by Gov. Rick Scott requires anyone returning from an area designated by the Centers for Disease Control as "Ebola-affected" to undergo twice-daily health monitoring for 21 days. It also allows the Florida Department of Health to quarantine "all high-risk travelers" from West African countries for 21 days.
  • Illinois. In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn has ordered anyone who has had direct contact with an individual infected with the Ebola virus in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea be subject to a 21-day home quarantine enforced by local health departments. Previous, those individuals were under a voluntary quarantine.

At the federal level, President Obama recently appointed political advisor Ron Klain to the position of Ebola response coordinator following criticism of the government's response to domestic Ebola cases.

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