Did Chris Christie quietly dump his crackpot Ebola quarantine policy when no one was looking? It looks like he did. But we may need your help to prove it.
Remember, last month, Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new policy in which health care workers who’d had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa would be subject to a mandatory 21 day quarantine regardless of symptoms. After Kaci Hickox was released from her ramshackle quarantine in North Jersey, Christie blusterfully insisted that nothing had changed about his policy had changed. So what’s happened since then?
We hadn’t seen any public reports about new health care workers being forced into quarantines. So we checked in with the state of New Jersey. A spokesperson for the state Health Department told us that 71 people are currently under active monitoring in the state – which means they’re asked to check their temperature twice a day and report it to the local health department. During the 21 day self-monitoring period they are free to work and go about their business like anyone else. In other words, aside from taking your temperature that’s the same situation the doctor in New York had before he started showing symptoms. And it was his case that led to the new policy.
Now, are any of those 71 people health care workers? When we followed up to ask that question, we got no reply. It seems hard to figure that no health care workers have returned to the state over the last month or that not one of those 71 people wasn’t in West Africa in some health care capacity. But we can’t determine that point definitively because the state of New Jersey has clammed up.
So here’s where you come in. If you’re from New Jersey, have you seen any press reports about or do you know directly about health care workers who’ve returned to the state or do you have any direct knowledge about whether or not the policy is being enforced? To be emphatically clear, we are not looking for names or locations of particular people and we would not publish them if we got them. It was bad policy from the start. And it’s good news if they’re not enforcing it. But because it was a bad idea in the first place and because we think Christie or people around him eventually figured that out, we think it’s important to find out what happened rather than allowing Christie to pretend the whole thing never happened just because the press doesn’t seem to be paying close attention now.