Thursday, October 08, 2009

Massachusetts House Approves Bill Allowing Quarantines for H1N1 "Swine Flu" and Other Contagious Diseases

Massachusetts now has unprecedented power in order to set up quarantines and forced detainments in the event contagious disease outbreaks. The scary part is this may be Constitutional under some type of public health benefit analysis. I need to increase my knowledge on Supreme Court cases. Fortunately, this Massachusetts bill has not been signed into law -- yet!

The bill would also let the [public health] commissioner limit public access to contaminated areas, adopt measures to safely dispose of infection waste, and store and distribute antitoxins, serums, vaccines and antibiotics.

One of the most contentious parts of the bill would give public health officials the authority to force individuals or groups into isolation or quarantine when there is "reasonable cause to believe that a disease or condition dangerous to the public health exists or may exist or that there is an immediate risk of an outbreak."

The isolation or quarantine order can be made orally as long as it is followed by a written order. The bill allows those in quarantine to appeal to a Superior Court judge. It also bars employers from firing workers because of a quarantine order.

Source: Boston Globe

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