Wisconsin Public Health Quarantine Letter Threatens Legal Action for Failing to Isolate After COVID Test


A letter from the St. Croix County Public Health Department last week threatened legal action against residents who do not quarantine properly after testing positive for COVID. The letter goes on to detail all the recommended “voluntary” actions the person should take following a positive COVID test.

The letter explained a person who tested positive should “remain at home” until fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours and all other COVID symptoms have abated and if 10 days have passed since the onset of COVID symptoms.

The alternative for those who are asymptomatic and test positive is isolation for 10 days from the positive test result. The letter threatened legal action against anyone who fails to comply with the requirements.

The letter said the authority to enforce the isolation orders is given by Wisconsin Statute Chapter 252 which says, “The department or the local health officer acting on behalf of the department may require isolation of a patient or of an individual under s. 252.041 (1) (b), quarantine of contacts, concurrent and terminal disinfection, or modified forms of these procedures as may be necessary and as are determined by the department by rule.”

The letter also outlined authority is given to them through Wisconsin Administrative Code DHS Chapter 145 which details the ability of the Department of Health Services to control communicable diseases.

It recommends the recipient “voluntarily comply” with guidelines from the Department of Health Services including separating from “people and animals” who live in the same home. The letter also asked that the person who tested positive for COVID does not share “personal household items” which include dishes, towels, or bedding with anyone else.

The letter also stated that the positive individual should wear a face mask when around other people and “cover [their] mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.”

The Wisconsin Department of Health website does not yet reflect the latest Centers for Disease Control recommendations cutting quarantine time in half, from 10 days to five days. Its guidance tells Wisconsin residents to quarantine for 14 days or 10 days following a positive test.

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Hayley Feland is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun and The Wisconsin Daily Star | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to [email protected].




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