By Linda Carlson

County health departments are concerned about quarantine procedures in the wake of HB 702. The Hill County Board of Health has called a special meeting to discuss this topic. The meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on 8/25/2021. Other HD’s may be doing the same.

HB 702 prohibits discrimination based on vaccine status or possession of an immunity passport. It goes on to state that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for a person or a governmental entity to refuse, withhold from, or deny to a person any local or state services, goods, facilities, advantages, privileges, licensing, educational opportunities, health care access, or employment opportunities based on the person’s vaccination status.

Health Departments like to follow the CDC guidelines and their prevention guidance states that people need to quarantine unless they’ve been fully vaccinated.

the CDC’s website also states that people who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. But they should get tested three to five days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms. And they should wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.

The Montana Department of Health and Human Services has their own set of guidelines.

The Montana DPHHS recommends that vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all the following criteria:

  1. Are fully vaccinated 2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or 2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  2. Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
  3. Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.
    Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

It seems that in order to follow either/or the CDC recommendations or the Montana DPHHS guidelines they would have to inquire about the persons vaccination status in some detail. HB 702 is now a thorn in their side.

It will be interesting to see how the quarantine situation is handled going forward. We will try to bring you any updates as they may arise.


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