FORT KENT — A judge issued a new ruling Friday that removes some of the restrictions placed on Kaci Hickox, the nurse who the state has been trying to quarantine since she returned to Maine earlier this week.
David Soley, a partner in the Maine law firm Bernstein Shur, which is representing Hickox, said that the judge issued a moving oral decision that sets conditions for Hickox that she has intended to follow all along.
The new restrictions call for direct active monitoring of her condition, coordination of travel with public officials and a requirement that the state be alerted as soon as Hickox develops symptoms, Soley said. It does not prevent her from leaving her house or being in contact with other people.
A little more than an hour after the decision was issued, a Maine State Police trooper who had been stationed outside Hickox’ home left.
The new rules will be in place until a full hearing on the state’s petition, which is scheduled for Tuesday – Election Day.
“The judge issued a very beautiful and moving order in the case. I listened with tears in my eyes,” Soley said.
“He said basically we wouldn’t be here today but for a woman who cared for and comforted people who are stricken with a terrible disease,” Soley said, referring to Chief District Court Judge Charles LaVerdiere’s oral decision. “He was aware of misconceptions and bad science being spread from shore to shore.”
“The judge said people are taking actions out of fear that is not rational and inappropriate,” Soley said.
The judge had issued a temporary order directing nurse Kaci Hickox to follow a series of restrictions that mirrored recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines for patients with “some risk” of Ebola.
Hickox’s lawyers agreed on Thursday that she would abide by the restrictions and stay in her home until at least Friday morning or when the court issued another decision prior to the hearing.
That happened before noon.
Hickox is pleased with the developments, Soley said.
“She agreed to things we have always agreed to,” Soley said. “Ms. Hickox is a public health nurse. She has been following the CDC guidelines. We got everything we asked for. She is happy and pleased and honored by the judge.”
Soley said even though Hickox is not restricted from public areas, she does not plan on flouting that privilege.
“She’s a public health nurse. Her life is devoted to helping people in need. She is not going to do anything to endanger the public and not do anything to further the fear in the community unnecessarily.”
This story will be updated.
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: