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State Lawmakers Clarify Agency Quarantine Powers

Ebola virus
CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith via Wikimedia Commons

The first confirmed cases of Ebola in United States came late last year, prompting questions of preparedness across the country.  Now a Senate proposal would give the Florida health department greater ability to impose and enforce quarantines.

Stopping the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola often requires isolating patients, but the authority to enforce that segregation isn’t always easy to find.  Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) wants to clarify how quarantines work in an emergency.

“Senate bill 950 amends provisions relating to the Department of Health’s authority to initiate and enforce quarantine orders for persons, animals and premises,” Hukill’s legislative aide Elizabeth Fetterhoff explains.

Hukill’s measure also empowers law enforcement to assist in enforcing a quarantine.  It passed it’s second of three committees unanimously.