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Ebola Strikes Race For Governor

Brett Levin / Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22/6044203012/in/photolist-nRM8aA-nRM9cA-6W3y3x-iSCMSX-ad77YL-ombQ4H-3cF2NM-8hAiN6-6W7Bsm-csFVES-grKEtn-9ZSWDs-fArP8e-niwAQi-89m25F-9ZT3kf-9ZQc52-n8xZJj-9ZT3Q3-9ZSikY-9ZPp8z-9ZSj83-csFRxN-ff

Illinois'  O'Hare Airport is one of five in the nation where travelers from West Africa must undergo extra screening for Ebola. But now the state has additional guidelines to prevent the virus' potential spread. What to do is the latest disagreement in an already adversarial race for governor.

Even as New Jersey releases a nurse forced into quarantine upon her return from Sierra Leone, Gov. Pat Quinn is standing by a similar policy for Illinois.

"We are different than New Jersey, that I don't think did the right thing, with that tent, I think that was very wrong," Quinn said; the New Jersey has said being forced into isolation after caring for patients with Ebola was unacceptable, and unnecessary.

Quinn's trying to distinguish between that, and the policy he's adopted for travelers coming into Illinois. Anyone considered "high risk" because they'd had direct contact with someone with Ebola will be placed under a 21 day quarantine. But Quinn says Illinois would allow them to wait it out at home: "would be at their home, would be taken care of at their home, could be visited at their home, but would be confined to their home."

The fine print of the Illinois public health department guidelines says doctors and nurses who wore protective clothing will not be subject to quarantine.

"We definitely, definitely honor all of those heroes - men and women who go forward to help the heatlh of others. It's important that we honor them. At the same time, upon their return, if they've been directly exposed, it's just common sense that there be this 21-day period in someone's home," Quinn said.

The White House says such quarantines are “not grounded in science,” and could have unintended consequences in the fight to stop Ebola "at its source in West Africa." Experts have also questioned the wisdom of travel restrictions, like those Republican nominee for governor Bruce Rauner supports. Rauner's spokesman says he favors a visa and travel ban on those attempting to come to the United States from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In a statement Rauner criticizes Quinn for not imposing a travel ban, saying that Illinois can't afford a potential health hazard.

As of Monday morning, no one had been quarantined in Illinois.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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