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Nurses’ Union Urging PA Not to Institute Mandatory State-Wide Quarantine for Healthcare Professionals Who Test Negative for Ebola

 SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Pennsylvania are urging Pennsylvania officials not to follow in the footsteps of states issuing mandatory quarantines and to instead heed the advice of medical experts.

HARRISBURG, PA – SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and the Nurse Alliance of SEIU-Pennsylvania are calling on state officials to not follow in the footsteps of New Jersey, New York, Illinois and Florida and to reject the idea of mandatory quarantine of healthcare professionals returning from West Africa who are not presenting symptoms and have tested negative for Ebola.

“Healthcare experts and the federal officials agree that there is no logical reason to forcibly quarantine a healthcare professional who tests negative for Ebola and presents no symptoms,” said Deborah Bonn, RN, director of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU-Pennsylvania. “To do so is not providing care or protection — it is succumbing to irrational fear and panic.”

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, which represents thousands of nurses and other healthcare professionals across Pennsylvania, is taking an active role in ensuring that healthcare workers and the facilities they work in are well prepared to handle a case of Ebola should one arrive in Pennsylvania.

The director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious (NIAID) Diseases recently noted that these quarantines are not necessary based on the science of Ebola transmission. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines call for anyone experiencing a high risk of exposure, but not presenting symptoms, be monitored by a public health authority for 21 days after the last possible exposure and that the patient notify the authority of any intended travel during that 21-day period. Quarantine is not advised in these instances.

What’s more, such harsh measures will result in discouraging other healthcare professionals from traveling to West Africa to help treat patients and contain the spread of the epidemic — a key factor in protecting the U.S. from the disease.

The Nurse Alliance of SEIU-Pennsylvania and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania are proud of its members who volunteer in times of crisis and tragedy and will continue to support and encourage healthcare providers who put themselves on the line to protect others.

“These selfless professionals should be celebrated for their work,” said Bonn. “Not treated like pariahs when they return home.”

The Nurse Alliance of SEIU-Pennsylvania will continue to monitor the situation, work with healthcare facilities and local, state and federal agencies, and inform nurses and other healthcare providers of changes and updates to information, procedures and protocols regarding Ebola.

For more information, visit www.NurseAlliancePA.org or contact James Myers at james.myers@seiuhcpa.org or 215-479-2213.

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The Nurse Alliance of Pennsylvania is an affiliate of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, uniting nurses across Pennsylvania in our commitment to provide the safest and highest quality of care for our patients and the public we serve. The Nurse Alliance was created as a forum for nurses to network and discuss ways to meet the challenges we face regarding our licenses and practice. Our mission is to unite nurses across the state to work for our common goals of universal health care, the highest standards of patient care and safety, respect for our profession, and dignity for our patients and their families.

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