In Texas, No Mandatory Quarantine For All Health Workers Returning From Areas Affected by Ebola

Nov 4, 2014

The task force put together by Texas Governor Rick Perry to evaluate the state’s response to Ebola has come out with a list of recommendations for how to handle health care workers exposed to the virus.

The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response has outlined four categories of exposure – from no identifiable risk to high risk. Those at a lower risk would just take their temperatures twice a day while high risk people would be restricted in their movement for the 21-day incubation period.

The task force says it "does not support mandatory government-imposed strict quarantine" for those who are cooperative and not showing symptoms – unless they meet the high risk description.

The Texas Governor's Office highlighted these key points from the full report

  • Detailed explanations of four exposure categories: high risk exposures, some risk exposures, low (but not zero) risk exposures, and no identifiable risk exposures.
  • Specific and detailed public health actions for each risk category.
  • Levels of public health actions ranging from Control Orders issued for 21-day restriction of movement (in certain “High Risk” situations) to twice-daily temperature checks for 21 days, without movement restriction (in certain “Low Risk” situations).
  • The task force does not support mandatory government-imposed strict quarantine for cooperative asymptomatic health care workers unless they meet the “high risk” category (one of the four exposure categories).
  • The task force affirms the importance of guidelines, but that guidelines are not a substitute for assessment and decision-making by qualified health professionals, who may find extenuating circumstances that could modify the level of risk and increase or decrease the level of restrictions based on factors such as details of potential exposure risk and the cooperation of the individual being monitored.

The task force is set to file a formal report by Dec. 1.