New Jersey issues mandatory quarantine for NBC news crew
by Carol Thompson
New Jersey officials have issued a mandatory quarantine order for NBC crew members who were exposed to a cameraman with Ebola after a voluntary 21-day isolation agreement was violated.
Last night, state health officials issued the mandatory order after a voluntary order was violated. Officials have not released the name of the individual, where the person went, or how they learned of it.
The NBC crew included medical correspondent Nancy Snyderman, who lives in New Jersey. She was working with Ashoka Mukpo, 33, a cameraman who was infected in West Africa. He was flown to the states and is now being treated in Nebraska.
Snyderman was with three other NBC News employees on assignment in Monrovia, reporting on the Ebola outbreak.
In a note to staff when Mukpo fell ill, NBC News President Deborah Turness said, “We are doing everything we can to get him the best care possible. He will be flown back to the United States for treatment at a medical center that is equipped to handle Ebola patients.
“We are also taking all possible measures to protect our employees and the general public. The rest of the crew, including Dr. Nancy, are being closely monitored and show no symptoms or warning signs. However, in an abundance of caution, we will fly them back on a private charter flight and then they will place themselves under quarantine in the United States for 21 days — which is at the most conservative end of the spectrum of medical guidance.”
The voluntary quarantine agreement was made with the CDC, and state and local health officials. “Unfortunately, the NBC crew violated this agreement and so the Department of Health today issued a mandatory quarantine order to ensure that the crew will remain confined until Oct. 22,” the state Health Department said in a statement.
News of the breach has an already on edge public even more anxious. Comments on news sites tell of a public becoming more panicked and less trusting. Some have suggested the crew member who violated the voluntary quarantine be jailed. Also upsetting to those in New Jersey is the unknown of whether they may have come in contact with the person.
Officials have stated that the threat of coming down with the lethal disease was low for the crew members, however, the public isn’t believing much of what comes out of the government these days.
The latest reports have stated that Mukpo is showing slight improvement.
Image: Flickr/EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection