In our previous posts, we discussed stay-home orders which are now in effect in nearly all 50 states. Today, we will explore what happens when a person tests positive for COVID-19, in terms of state department of health orders. A positive test is typically reported to the state or county department of health. In most states, the state health department has the power under state law to issue quarantine orders. Unlike stay home orders, which contain many exceptions for persons working in “essential businesses”, or those conducting “essential activities”, a quarantine order applies to an afflicted individual or group (think cruise ship), and there are no exceptions. A person who receives a quarantine order cannot legally leave their home – period. There are no exceptions for shopping or other essential activities. In my home state- Ohio, Section 3701, of the Ohio Revised Code, even authorizes the department of health to employ quarantine guards over a person’s home if necessary. Typically, quarantine orders last up to 14 days, and a violation of the order can result in civil penalties, including fines. Although we have not yet seen cases involving violations of quarantine orders, I predict that we will probably see those cases soon. As always, if you have such a case, I recommend consulting a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Good luck and stay healthy!
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