(CNN) -- Not long ago, Kaci Hickox was fighting Ebola in West Africa, doing what she could to treat those with the deadly disease. Now, she's in the middle of a different fight -- in the middle of Maine.
A Maine official said late Wednesday afternoon that the state is in the process of filing a court order to require Hickox to abide by a 21-day quarantine. This measure is meant to prevent her from spreading Ebola, given her hands-on role with the deadly virus.
In a written statement, Gov. Paul LePage said Hickox "has been unwilling to follow the protocols set forth by the Maine CDC and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for medical workers who have been in contact with Ebola patients." The statement didn't say which protocols she was resisting but added LePage is seeking legal authority to enforce a quarantine.
And on Tuesday, state health commissioner Mary Mayhew said, "If an individual who came in direct contact with Ebola patients has returned to Maine and is not willing to avoid public contact and stay in their home voluntarily during the period they are at some risk, we will take additional measures and pursue appropriate authority to ensure they make no public contact."
Yet Hickox -- a Doctors Without Borders volunteer in Sierra Leone who has twice tested negative for Ebola -- isn't ready to stay put.
'I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies'
"I don't plan on sticking to the guidelines," she said Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show, referring to Maine' officials' plan for her to remain quarantined at home through November 10. "I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me."
One of Hickox's lawyers, Norm Siegel, told NBC's Matt Lauer state officials had until Thursday to adjust their approach, and if they tried to physically apprehend Hickox, her legal team would take the matter to court.
President Barack Obama has been vocal in recent days against policies such as quarantines or travel bans based more on fear than scientific fact. While he did not mention Hickox by name, he said Wednesday that health care workers like her -- who risk their lives and livelihoods by going to West Africa, to help those in need and try to curb the deadly outbreak -- are "heroes" who "deserve to be treated with dignity and respect."
"When I hear people talking about American leadership and then are promoting policies that would avoid leadership and have us running in the opposite direction and hiding under the covers, it makes me a little frustrated," Obama said.
Steven Hyman, another member of Hickox's legal team, said that knowing for certain what could happen legally with his client is unclear because "we're treading in areas" in which "there's not a whole lot of case law."
However, he said, "Society has a right to protect itself from legitimate issues of public health, but it can't do it based on what the (U.S.) Supreme Court calls fear."
New Jersey governor on lawsuit: 'Get in line'
The nurse told "Today" that she's in good health and does not have symptoms. A person must be symptomatic to be contagious if they have Ebola. But it can take up to three weeks between when a person contracts the virus and they become sick, hence the talk of a 21-day quarantine.
Siegel told the Bangor Daily News that, while Hickox would contest any court order, she will abide by guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say she should subject herself to monitoring, such as daily reporting of measured temperatures.
"The conditions that the state of Maine is now requiring Kaci to comply with are unconstitutional and illegal and there is no justification for the state of Maine to infringe on her liberty," Siegel told the newspaper.
Hickox initially was put in isolation Friday, after landing in Newark, New Jersey.
New Jersey and New York had just started requiring anyone who had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa to be quarantined for 21 days. New Jersey officials additionally said that screeners determined that she had a fever at the airport.
But Hickox, speaking to CNN over the weekend from her quarantine tent at the New Jersey hospital, said she never had a fever.
"They were using a forehead scanner, and I was distressed and a little bit upset, and so my cheeks were flushed," she told CNN's Candy Crowley. The nurse said her temperature was later determined to be normal.
Hickox told "Today" that she witnessed "complete disorganization" at the airport in Newark, New Jersey, and that New York and New Jersey's policies are "not scientifically" or "constitutionally just."
The policies, she says, will be a "big deterrent" for health care workers who want to go to West Africa to treat patients, because they won't want to be quarantined when they return if, like her, they are asymptomatic.
"It's already difficult for people to take time out of their lives to go and respond," she said, though she definitely plans to go back because it's a "privilege to help."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said his state agreed to let her go to Maine after confirming she "was no longer symptomatic," but he is unapologetic about New Jersey's quarantine policy. The straight-talking Republican also hit back Tuesday at criticism that the nurse wasn't treated well enough, arguing that she even had Internet access and takeout food.
"Whatever," he said, when pressed by reporters about a potential legal challenge. "Get in line. I've been sued lots of times before. Get in line. I'm happy to take it on."
The debate about how to treat returning health care workers comes amid what officials say is the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
The World Health Organization reported Wednesday that there are more than 13,700 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola -- almost all in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The United Nations' health authority projected about 5,000 deaths from the virus.
And those are only the ones that authorities have been able to count. In a region where health care access and record-keeping are limited, the WHO says the death toll may be especially undercounted. Some ill people who are seen by physicians and counted as Ebola cases may not stay for treatment and die of the disease, and the record-keepers won't know to record their deaths.
The WHO has said that the mortality rate from the current outbreak, starting with the first death in December, is roughly 60% to 70%.
CNN's Greg Botelho, Ashley Killough and Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.