The White House Holiday Open House Invitation and the State “Quarantine”
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health contacted me regarding the issue of the 21-day quarantine. This entails direct active surveillance with reporting of my temperature twice a day and someone from the health department laying eyes on me in person or via skype once a day. According to them, I am not technically quarantined but I am not to go into crowds or where people congregate but could go for a run or a walk, and a quick trip to the store. If I do get sick, my cat would have to be isolated. I asked if the people from the health department would have to don PPE for their visit, they have decided that they would not.
On my second day at home, I received a call informing me that three people from the health department, two from the state and one from the local Belmont health department would be arriving shortly and rather than drawing attention by knocking on my front door they would like to meet me at my back door but they would not enter my home. I thought that unless they drew attention to themselves by wearing Hazmat suits they would just be regarded as Jehovah witnesses at my door. So my cat inspected the three health department personnel as they stood in my back porch keeping a distance while they inspected me and asked me about any symptoms I might have. I was the first person that the state is involved in the 21-day quarantine and it has to have several people from the health department to oversee this so they could learn from this and go forward with future returnees from West Africa.
The Employee Health department of my work place also got involved asking me how the situation was in Liberia. I answered that it was very bad and did not offer to elaborate any further. He then asked me whether I had any plan to do a presentation but I replied that I would like to be left in peace and quiet to reflect on what I have done. He wanted me to do similar daily reporting of my symptoms which I found somewhat redundant and insisted on him coordinating with the state.
In the afternoon I was visited by a photographer and reporter from the Belmont Citizen-Herald to interview me about my time in Liberia, they came into my home. The reporter has checked with her father who is a cardiologist whether she should be concerned about visiting me. Of course Grisela gave them a thorough check-over.
This past spring I was given a President’s Volunteer Service Award and Pin in recognition of my past volunteer work. Today I received a White House Holiday Open House Invitation in celebrating the holiday season on December 6th , 2014 to see the white House holiday decorations in recognition of my contributions to the country. I could bring along a guest. This would be an ideal birthday present for my eldest child for December 6th is his birthday but this falls on the 16th day of my 21-day quarantine. I was reminded by the state DPH that I could not board a commercial vehicle or be in crowds…
BBC has commented on the shortage of PPEs for the Ebola-afflicted nations and the main reason being that the PPEs have been hoarded in the US which to date has only a handful of Ebola cases!
Although everyone seems to commend me on my volunteering, however you slice it, homecoming has been somewhat intrusive and not altogether welcoming.
The only people/creature who have unconditionally accepted me are my family and my kitten, Grisela.