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New York's Quarantine Will Keep People At Home, Not At Hospitals

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that individuals subject to the state's Ebola quarantine policy will be confined to their homes, not to medical facilities, for the length of their quarantine.

The mandatory policy applies to people returning to the state after having direct contact with Ebola-infected patients in West Africa. For the most part, that means health professionals who traveled to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone to fight the devastating outbreak of the disease.

At a press conference Sunday night, the governor said those individuals will be required to remain at home for 21 days, and will have their health monitored by a health care professional twice daily. The governor repeatedly called health care workers who travel to West Africa "heroes," and he said he anticipates they will cooperate fully with the home quarantine rules.

The policy applies to people who have no symptoms. A person with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear.

The announcement comes after New Jersey's new quarantine policy has met with harsh criticism. Kaci Hickox, a nurse who has been quarantined at a hospital in New Jersey, has called her experience "frightening," and said she's worried such quarantines will discourage others from traveling to West Africa to battle Ebola.

However, Cuomo said that New York's policy of home confinement, rather than hospitalization, wasn't a shift in position. Rather, he said that the home-stay policy was what he was referring to when he and N.J. Gov. Chris Christie announced Friday they would impose quarantines.

Cuomo said the state would encourage employers to pay individuals for their three weeks of self-quarantine; otherwise, he said, the state would compensate the individual for those three weeks. People on home quarantine would be permitted to receive visitors.

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