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The media frenzy about Ebola has dominated the news this week, but our responsibility to keep Mainers safe goes far beyond headlines and sound bites.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

My administration is committed to protecting the public health and safety of all Mainers, as well as any visitors to our great state. It is my highest priority.

We commend all healthcare workers for their humanitarian work in West Africa and other regions of the world, and we are proud that Americans are always ready to help others. However, we must ensure that upon their return, we use an abundance of caution to make sure they and all of us remain safe. When healthcare workers return home, we will follow established protocols for medical workers who have been in contact with Ebola patients.

In addition, we have established protocols for the monitoring of any individual who returns to Maine after traveling from regions that have been impacted by Ebola. The challenge is that symptoms can occur up to 21 days after a person’s exposure to the virus. That’s why our protocols include monitoring the individual for 21 days after the last possible exposure to Ebola.

We don’t want our returning healthcare workers to have direct contact with other Mainers until this period has passed. An in-home quarantine is the most prudent way to ensure safety and reduce fear. During this period, we will work with these healthcare workers to make sure they have everything they need to be as comfortable as possible.

We certainly understand that our healthcare workers are eager to get home after doing such good work abroad. But we will be vigilant in our duty to protect the health and safety of all Mainers. Since we are a border state, we must also consider the fact that a person who has been exposed to Ebola could cross into Canada.

As Governor, I have to weigh the inconvenience of an in-home quarantine for one individual against the public health and safety for 1.3 million Mainers.

With lack of national leadership on how to keep returning health care workers safe, the states must decide for themselves the best possible course of action to protect their citizens.

We hope that all healthcare workers who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients would voluntarily comply with these common-sense protocols. Unfortunately, one of these health care workers stated publicly that she would not follow our protocols.

We are very concerned about her safety, as well as the health and safety of the community. In fact, we asked the State Police to put a trooper outside her house to protect her in case anyone tries to take the matter into their own hands.

No matter what the potential threat is to the public health, I will explore all of our options to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities and our state. It may not be popular with everyone, but it’s the right thing to do.

Thank you for listening.

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