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Emergency Legal Preparedness: Isolation and Quarantine Procedures

posted on Tue, Aug 4 2015 11:05 am by The Network

The Network was recently contacted by the director of a local health department in Arizona who asked for information, including model policies, regarding isolation and quarantine procedures. The Network provided the requestor with a number of resources, both general and specific to Arizona.

  • In Arizona, ARS § 36-624 requires county health departments to investigate infectious and contagious disease and if a disease is found to exist, the department is permitted to adopt quarantine and other public health measures so long as they are done in a manner consistent with other state laws, including ARS §§ 36-788 and 36-789 and AAC R9-6-303. ARS §§ 36-788 and 36-789 set forth the procedures required for isolation and quarantine during an emergency, and a county must follow the same process when instituting isolation or quarantine.
  • The Governor’s Council on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response created a report which includes guidelines and recommendations for handling a potential Ebola outbreak. The report also discusses quarantine in Arizona generally, and provides draft documents such as sample directives and affidavits that could be used by county health departments. A flow chart details the process for isolation and quarantine during a declared emergency.
  • King County, Washington has a very thorough isolation and quarantine response plan that may serve as a helpful guide in creating policies.
  • Minnesota also has a very thorough bench book designed to educate judges assigned to isolation and quarantine proceedings. While the processes are very specific to Minnesota, they provide a very detailed discussion of the necessary considerations and procedures as well as a number of sample directives and orders in the appendix.

Over the years a number of model acts, which highlight public health best practices have been created as a basis for future legislation, which also may provide some guidance for county quarantine and isolation policies.

For example, the Turning Point Model State Public Health Act, is designed to modernize and transform the public health system. Article V discusses general conditions and principles that local public health agencies should consider and abide by when instituting quarantine and isolation as well as the general procedures such authorities should follow. The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA), developed as a guide for public health law reform, grants strong public health powers to state and local authorities to allow them to respond to emergencies. Article VI sets out conditions and procedures that should be followed during quarantine and isolation, with a focus on situations during declared emergencies.

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