Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Proposed bill would allow state authorities to quarantine people during pandemic:


related Article Links
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Pandemic Response Bill [pdf]
BOSTON -- A new proposed bill designed to combat the threat of the H1N1 virus would allow the state to forcefully quarantine people in the event of a pandemic.

Anyone who refuses to comply with the quarantine order could face jail time or a $1000 per day fine.

The "Pandemic Response Bill" would also force health providers to vaccinate people, authorize forcible entry into private homes, and impose fines or prison sentences on anyone not complying with isolation or quarantine orders.

Federal health officials are also warning of a possible new outbreak of the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the "swine flu."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said people should expect "a big influx" of cases and brace for it as best they can.
Napolitano said many cases are likely to surface before a vaccine becomes available in mid-October.

Already, cases are showing up on college campuses. Fifty students at Emory College and 100 students at Wake Forest are sick with the flu.
A high school in Nebraska reported 191 students out this week with flu symptoms. Only 13 of those cases were confirmed to be swine flu, but more are expected.

New York City school officials are offering free vaccinations to their million-plus public school students. The city wants to avoid being the epicenter of another outbreak like last spring, when hundreds of students came down with the illness.

The "Pandemic Response Bill" was passed by the Massachusetts State Senate on April 28. The bill is now awaiting approval in the house.

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