Isolation and quarantine are used routinely in Massachusetts to control the spread of communicable diseases. Isolation refers to separating people who are ill from other people to prevent the spread of a communicable disease. Quarantine refers to separating and restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a communicable disease and are not yet ill.
This web site is an online resource for those who are responsible for protecting the public health, including health care providers, public health nurses, health directors, school nurses, emergency medical technicians, etc.
- Helpful Background Documents
- Professional Responsibilities or Jurisdictional Issues
- Resources that Include Information about Isolation and Quarantine
- Legal Documents for Use by Municipal Attorneys and Local Boards of Health When Ordering and Enforcing Isolation
- Frequently Asked Questions about Isolation and Quarantine
- Summary of Laws and Regulations Relevant to Infectious Disease Surveillance, Reporting and Control
- EMS Responsibilities When Responding to Cases of Infectious Disease (Duty to Treat)
- Community Caretaking Function (Police Powers During Public Emergencies)
- Options for Financing Hospital Isolation
- The Authority of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to Require Immunization as a Condition for Entry into Schools and to Require Exclusion of Infectious or Susceptible Students Under Isolation and Quarantine Regulations
Isolation and Quarantine Case Study Examining Fictitious Mass Exposure to an Infectious Agent
- Guide to Surveillance, Reporting and Control : A Massachusetts-specific manual to guide local boards of health through surveillance and control of reportable infectious diseases. Contains basic epidemiological information as well as isolation and quarantine requirements for each reportable disease.
- 105 CMR 300.000: Reportable Diseases, Surveillance, and Isolation and Quarantine Requirements (includes disease-specific isolation and quarantine requirements)
(32-page booklet), includes disease-specific isolation and quarantine requirements
- Vaccine Preventable Disease Exclusion Guidelines in School Settings
Legal Documents for Use by Municipal Attorneys and Local Boards of Health When Ordering and Enforcing Isolation
In most instances, local boards of health will be able to obtain voluntarily compliance with isolation or quarantine. If all means of eliciting voluntary compliance have failed, local boards of health may need to work with their municipal attorneys to obtain a court order to place a person in isolation or quarantine. The majority of the documents listed below were developed specifically for use in seeking a court order for the isolation of a person infected with SARS; however they may be modified to address other diseases. Documents are available in Rich-Text Format (RTF).
Obtaining Voluntary Compliance
- Letter to SARS Patient with Massachusetts Residence
- Letter to SARS Patient without Massachusetts Residence
- SARS Information for Persons in Home Isolation
- SARS Information for Persons in Home Quarantine
Administrative Enforcement of Isolation or Quarantine
Enforcement of Isolation or Quarantine through Superior Court
Background on the Court Process
- Background Information on the Court Process for Cities and Towns
- Time Line for Seeking Judicial Order Authorizing Removal and Isolation
- Instructions for Filling Out the Complaint and Supporting Documents Relating to Mandatory Isolation of a SARS Patient
- Use of SARS Legal Documents to Isolate Someone for a Different Disease
- Summary of Steps for Isolation of an Individual
Papers to be Filed in Court
- Letter to Clerk of Court to Request Waiver of Filing Fees
- Complaint, Request for Temporary Restraining Order, and Application for Preliminary and Permanent Injunction
- Physician's or Other Health Care Provider's Affidavit of Medical Examination, Treatment or Evaluation
- Physician's, Other Health Care Provider's, or Health Official's Affidavit of Patient's Unwillingness to Remain Isolated at Home
- Physician's, Other Health Care Provider's, or Local Board of Health's Affidavit of Medical Examination, Treatment or Evaluation AND Patient's Unwillingness to Remain Isolated at Home
- Ex Parte Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order
- Temporary Restraining Order
- Designated Facility for Isolation
- Ex Parte Motion to Impound Case File
- Impoundment Order
- Motion to Proceed without Complying with Superior Court Rule 9A
- Notice of Hearing of an Application for Preliminary Injunction
- Order on Application for Preliminary Injunction
- Warrant to Law Enforcement Personnel
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