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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

U.S. Moves to End Patchwork of Policies on Returning Ebola Workers

WASHINGTON — The federal government on Monday announced a new set of monitoring guidelines for people arriving from West Africa that stopped short of the tough measures instituted in New York and New Jersey last week, an effort to bring uniformity to a messy patchwork of responses by states.

The new policy, which federal health officials said was an effort to strike a balance between safety and civil liberties, would require returning heath care workers, or people who had been near Ebola patients, to submit to an in-person checkup and a phone call from a local public health authority.

That is looser than the stay-home quarantine policies in New York and New Jersey, and many believed that the long-awaited federal response would be unlikely to satisfy the governors of those states, who believe the government needs to be more proactive in preventing potential Ebola patients from spreading the virus.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who announced the new measures, said: "We believed these are based on science. These add a strong level of protection.”

But the C.D.C. does not have regulatory authority, and it will be up to states to enforce the policy, and a number of states have already indicated that they believe stronger measures should be taken, including Illinois and Florida.

Approximately 100 people a day arrive to the United States from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, most of them American citizens or...

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