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Washington Will Not Quarantine Ebola Workers, Inslee Says

Michael Duff
AP Photo
Health workers wear protective gears before entering the house of a person suspected to have died of Ebola virus in Port loko Community situated on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014.

Gov. Jay Inslee says Washington will not follow the lead of states imposing harsh restrictions on health workers back from treating Ebola patients.

Governors in New York, New Jersey and Illinois have announced that people returning from Ebola-affected countries may be subject to mandatory quarantine. Inslee says Washington will take a lighter touch, based on guidelines from federal health authorities.

“We have developed protocols that are different than the ones you’ve heard about in New Jersey, that I think are more based on accurate science and are more suited to our circumstance in Washington,” Inslee said.

Those protocols include what’s called “direct active monitoring” for people who have had contact with Ebola patients. That means a public health worker will be in regular touch with the person, helping ensure he or she does twice-daily checks for fever and other symptoms.

Those people will be asked to avoid coming into close contact with others, but will not be confined to their homes or a containment facility.

A state epidemiologist says over the last several weeks, six to eight people have been under active monitoring at any given time.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to
Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.