(AUGUSTA, Maine) — Negotiations with nurse Kaci Hickox, who refuses to be quarantined after treating Ebola patients in West Africa, have “failed” and the governor of Maine will now “exercise the full extent of his authority,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
Gov. Paul LePage didn’t say whether that meant getting a court order to enforce Hickox’s quarantine or forcing her to take an Ebola blood test. Earlier on Thursday, LePage indicated to ABC News that he would abandon his demand that Hickox remain under quarantine if she would agree to take a blood test for the lethal virus.
“I was ready and willing — and remain ready and willing — to reasonably address the needs of healthcare workers meeting guidelines to assure the public health is protected,” LePage said.
The governor made his comment after Hickox defiantly challenged demands that she remain quarantined by leaving her home in Fort Kent Thursday morning for a bike ride with her boyfriend. She was trailed by a police car as she rode.
While Hickox was pedaling, attorneys for the state of Maine went to Superior Court seeking a judge’s permission to give Hickox a blood test for Ebola, LePage said.
“This could be resolved today,” the governor said. “She has been exposed and she’s not cooperative, so force her to take a test. It’s so simple.”
Medical experts have said that an Ebola test would only be positive if someone were symptomatic, and could register a negative result if the amount of Ebola virus in the blood hadn’t reached a detectable level.
LePage’s office later put out a statement saying negotiations with Hickox had failed and the governor will now “exercise the full extent of his authority allowable by law.”
“Maine statutes provide robust authority to the state to use legal measures to address threats to public health,” the statement said.
It added, “Specifics of the process or steps being taken by the state at this time may not be discussed publicly due to the confidentially requirements in law.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
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