2005 Updates to the Law on Isolation and Quarantine

Minnesota Department of Health
Revised June, 2006

On this page:
Federal Law on Isolation and Quarantine
Minnesota Law on Isolation and Quarantine
Peace officer enforcement of court order
Commissioner of Health’s temporary hold directive
Employee Protection

Download a print version of this document:
2005 Updates to the Law on Isolation and Quarantine (PDF: 30KB/1 page)

In 2005, there were some changes in both federal and Minnesota law regarding isolation and quarantine.

Federal Law on Isolation and Quarantine

On April 1, 2005, President Bush added certain types of influenza to the list of diseases for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can isolate or quarantine people. Specifically, the CDC now has the authority to isolate or quarantine people for influenza caused by viruses that are causing or have the potential to cause a pandemic. Avian flu is an example of this type of influenza.

Minnesota Law on Isolation and Quarantine

The Minnesota Statutes on isolation and quarantine were amended, effective August 1, 2005.

Here is a summary of the changes that may be of interest to public safety personnel:

Peace officer enforcement of court order

  • The amended law clarifies that a peace officer may enforce a court order for isolation or quarantine, and may use force if necessary according to existing statutes on the use of force (in Minnesota Statutes Chapter 609).
  • The Commissioner of Health or an agent of a local board of health shall advise the peace officer on protective measures (to protect from possible transmission of communicable disease) if requested.
  • The peace officer may act upon electronic notification of the court order.

Commissioner of Health’s temporary hold directive

  • The amended law shortens the time frame for court review of the Commissioner’s temporary hold directive. The Commissioner of Health may issue a temporary hold directive and must immediately begin the process to obtain a court order. The court must act on the request within 36 hours of the issuance of the temporary hold directive or the directive expires.
  • The amended law clarifies that a peace officer may assist a public health official to quarantine or isolate a person based on the Commissioner’s temporary hold directive, and may use force if necessary (according to current statutes in Chapter 609).
  • If a person is already in a health care facility, the Commissioner may direct the facility to hold the person.
  • The Commissioner must notify the Governor and legislative leaders when a temporary hold directive is issued.

Appointment and payment of defense counsel

  • Isolated or quarantined persons without an attorney may request an attorney at the expense of the Department of Health.
  • The attorney may request advice from the Commissioner or an agent of a local board of health about protective measures (to protect from possible transmission of communicable disease).
  • The isolated or quarantined person may be asked to reimburse the cost of an appeal (unless the person meets standards for indigency), if the person requests an appeal.
  • The Supreme Court shall develop procedures for appointment and payment of counsel.
  • Court hearings may be held through electronic means.

Employee Protection

  • An employee complying with a commissioner’s written recommendation or ordered into isolation or quarantine may not be discharged or disciplined for being away from work for up to 21 days. After that period, the situation is handled in the same manner as loss of employment due to a serious illness.

Updated Tuesday, 08-Jul-2014 10:01:23 CDT