The Obama administration is considering imposing a quarantine on health workers returning from Ebola-afflicted countries in West Africa after a New York City doctor who had worked in that region tested positive for the often-deadly disease.
A federal Centers for Disease Control spokesman said it is like that changes will be made to current CDC guidelines for medical workers returning from the nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Reuters reported Friday afternoon.
"There are lots of options being discussed," the spokesman said, according to the Reuters news service.
"We want to strike the right balance of doing what is best to protect the public's health while not impeding whatsoever our ability to combat the epidemic in West Africa. Our risk here will not be zero until we stop the epidemic there."
But soon after that announcement, the governors of New York and New Jersey jointly revealed that they have already instituted a policy of mandatory quarantines of up to 21 days for medical workers returning from the three West African countries after treating Ebola patients there, and also are implementing additional screening protocols for Ebola at JFK and Newark Liberty Airports.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said authorities will quarantine a woman stopped Friday at Newark's airport after officials learned she had treated Ebola patients in West Africa, and was headed to New York. The woman is not showing any symptoms, he said.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest earlier was repeatedly pressed with questions about why Dr. Craig Spencer was not in quarantine after he returned to New York on Oct. 17 on the heels of treating Ebola patients in Guinea.
Spencer, 33, instead was able to freely throughout New York until he developed a fever, and was hospitalized Thursday afternoon. He soon after tested positive for Ebola, and remains in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. His fiance and two friends have been placed in quarantine because of contact with him.
Spencer entered the U.S. through John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, where he and other passengers traveling from West Africa had their temperatures taken as part of Ebola-screening efforts adopted last week. Afterward, he had taken his own temperature twice daily, according to the Doctors Without Borders aid group that he had worked with in Guinea.
Also Friday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated that "there is no cause for alarm" after Spencer's diagnosis.
"New Yorkers need to understand that the situation is being handled, and handled well," de Blasio said.
Also Friday, a Dallas nurse who had tested positive for Ebola celebrated being declared "virus-free" by getting a warm hug from President Barack Obama in the White House.
Nina Pham's dramatic visit to the Oval Office came hours after she was discharged from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.