The difficulty of ensuring COVID-19 patients stay home increase as numbers continue to rise
Linn County is the epicenter of the virus in Iowa with 235 Confirmed cases, the most of the 99 counties in the state.
Most who have tested positive won’t end up in the hospital. The rest are told to stay home, but Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said there is now law making sure they don’t go out.
“There is what’s called a contagious or infectious disease transmission act and it makes it a crime for someone who knows they can infect someone with a contagious or infectious disease,” he said. “But it is limited in scope.”
COVID 19 isn’t covered under that law. So, a patient who wanders outside of their home isn’t breaking the law, but that’s when the Linn County Board of health, a board appointed by the board of supervisors to oversee LCPH, could step in.
“If a person isn’t compliant with self-isolation instructions, the local board of health has the authority to issue a legal order for that individual,” said Clinical Branch Supervisor for LCPH Heather Meador.
It would then be a crime to not follow the quarantine order. Meador said her department is still checking in with all COVID 19 patients. However, that is getting more difficult as the number of cases in the county continues to rise.
“For those that we think have a severe or a moderate to severe case, we are checking in every day,” said Meador. “Those who might have more of a moderate illness we might check on every couple of days.”
Meador said the board has not received a complaint of a patient with COVID 19 not isolating.