MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — People who travel to Minnesota from West Africa will have to follow new strict guidelines after they enter the state. They include 21-day restrictions on using public transit and attending large gatherings. The rules are more stringent for anyone who’s treated an Ebola patient.

“The million dollar question is, Is it necessary?” Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, said. “Is it proper? Is it the minimum use of force?

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Samuelson expressed concern about the state’s plan to monitor people who arrive from Ebola-affected regions.

“If you are involuntarily detained, that is an infringement on your right,” Samuelson said. “Even if you have Ebola, it’s an infringement on your right.”

Gov. Mark Dayton calls the program an effective, science-based approach.

“There is no reason for alarm,” Dayton said, “and absolutely no cause for panic.”

Anyone who travels from an affected county will be monitored on some level. The health department is in touch with 26 people who flew in last week from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone.

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“The individuals we will be contacting will be instructed to be on the lookout for fever, headaches, body aches and pain for three weeks,” Dr. Ed Ehlinger said. “Individuals will check their temperatures twice daily with a digital thermometer.”

Travelers who have treated patients with Ebola-like symptoms will be restricted to their homes.

Samuelson worries they will be forcibly detained and said Minnesota law requires a court order before you can do that.

“Quarantine is arrest,” Samuelson said. “It’s jail. It might be your house, which is more comfortable than, say, Stillwater, but it’s still jail.”

Three full-time staff members are in charge of monitoring travelers, and the state will add more people if needed. The state will consider legal action against anyone who deliberately doesn’t comply.

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Samuelson said he has been in touch with the health department. He hopes they will consult with the ACLU of Minnesota on future Ebola matters.

Jennifer Mayerle