Healthcare worker quarantined in Newark tests negative for Ebola

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NEW YORK (CNN) — A woman quarantined at a New Jersey hospital after arrival from West Africa has tested negative for Ebola in a preliminary test, authorities said Saturday.

The unidentified health care worker who had treated Ebola patients in West Africa arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday.

When she arrived, she did not have a high temperature or Ebola symptoms, New Jersey health department spokesman Donna Leusner said.

Leusner said she later developed a fever and was put in isolation at University Hospital in Newark.

But a friend of the health care worker said he had spoken with her, and denied that she had a fever.

She was tested with a forehead scanner, which showed high temperatures at the airport because she was flushed, Dr. Seema Yasmin told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday.

A later check with a more accurate oral thermometer showed the normal reading of 98 degrees, Yasmin said.

After undergoing an Ebola test, her results came back negative, but she will remain quarantined for 21 days under new state rules that mandate isolation for people who had direct contact with Ebola patients in West African countries hard hit by the disease.

“Physicians at University Hospital continue to monitor the patient and consult with the department of health and the CDC on patient evaluation and any potential need for additional testing,” Leusner said in a statement.

The governors of New York and New Jersey announced Friday their states were stepping up airport screening for Ebola.

Under their new policy, the states will determine hospitalization or quarantine for up to 21 days for travelers from the affected countries.

A mandatory quarantine is called for those who had “direct contact with an individual infected with the Ebola virus,” including medical workers who treated Ebola patients. In addition, people with a travel history to the affected regions but with no direct contact with Ebola patients will be “actively monitored … and, if necessary, quarantined.”

The health care worker was among those initially quarantined under this policy.

“This is not the time to take chances,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday along his New Jersey counterpart, Gov. Chris Christie.

“This adjustment in increasing the screening procedures is necessary … I think public safety and public health have to be balanced and I think this policy does that.”

CNN’s Greg Botelho, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Poppy Harlow, Haimy Assefa, Kristina Sgueglia and David Shortell contributed to this report.

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