(Reuters) - Maine Governor Paul LePage vowed on Thursday to use the full extent of his authority in response to a nurse who has treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, after she left her home in Maine and took a bicycle ride despite a quarantine order.
LePage said his office had been in talks overnight Wednesday to work out a deal for how Kaci Hickox, who has tested negative for Ebola, will spend the remaining time until Nov. 10, the period that the state has ordered her to remain at home as she waits out the virus’s maximum 21-day incubation period.
“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, a Republican locked in a tight three-way re-election campaign, said in a statement.
Hickox, 33, returned to the United States last week after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. LePage referred to her not by name, but as a person now staying in Fort Kent, near the Canadian border.
LePage said his office would be open to a deal under which Hickox could serve her quarantine under terms that would have allowed a bike ride so long as she remained 3 feet (90 cm) from other people.
Absent an agreement, LePage plans to use “the full extent of his authority allowable by law,” his office said in a statement.
Attorneys for Hickox said they had not yet been served with a court order to enforce a 21-day quarantine but remained prepared to fight one if necessary.
Hickox says she is completely healthy and has been monitoring her condition and taking her temperature twice a day.
Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Mohammad Zargham