By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A health care worker quarantined in a New Jersey hospital after caring for Ebola patients in West Africa has tested negative in a preliminary test for the virus. She’s the first traveler quarantined under a new Ebola watch.
New York and New Jersey officials have implemented new rules for people who come in contact with Ebola infected patients.
Both states are going beyond the CDC guidelines to establish their own safety standards.
Police are guarding the entrance to the University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, where a woman who arrived from Sierra Leone is being quarantined after telling CDC screeners at Newark Airport she had recently cared for Ebola patients in West Africa. Despite showing no symptoms at the time, she was quarantined.
“After the CDC alerted the New Jersey Department of Heath, the health department made a determination that a legal quarantine order should be issued,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Just a few hours later, the woman came down with a fever.
New Jersey health officials acted fast under new directives from Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo.
The screening process established by the CDC will now be stepped up at Newark and JFK Airports. The states will take over and demand that anyone who has treated or come in contact with potentially infected Ebola patients from West Africa be put under a mandatory 21 day quarantine.
“We have to do more,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “It’s too serious a situation to leave it to the honor system of compliance.”
“We are now longer relying on CDC standards,” added Governor Christie. “There are now New York, New Jersey standards.”
Officials in New York and New Jersey will also monitor anyone who has a travel history to West Africa.
All of these new measures go into effect one day after 33-year-old doctor Craig Spencer tested positive for Ebola in Manhattan.
Travelers at Newark Airport say the new stricter measures are necessary.
“It’s a big problem in Africa right now,” said Dave Fairfax. “We’ve seen it can spread to the US quickly. I’m in favor of it.”
Earlier this week the federal government had restricted travel from Ebola stricken areas to five US airports. Philadelphia International Airport was not on that list.
Airport officials say that the risk is low to begin with, because there are no direct flights from Philadelphia International Airport to any country in Africa.