We are hearing about people, cruise ships, and entire countries being quarantined to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus which is the cause of the infectious disease CoVID-19.  So what does being quarantined mean? First, we need to understand the right terminology and differences between quarantine and isolation.  According to The Centers for Disease Control:

Isolation – People that are confirmed to be infected with an infectious disease that is transmittable are isolated so they are unable to come in direct contact with people that are not sick.

Quarantine – Containing a person or people that were exposed to an infectious disease, but not necessarily infected, to prevent them from potentially contaminating other individuals or communities.

Being Quarantined also typically involves a waiting period to make sure the individual or group of individuals does not become infected.  Currently, the government has the authority to quarantine and isolate for some listed infectious diseases, and the laws are fairly broad under The Department of Health and Human Services and CDC Rule 42 CFR Parts 70 and 71.

China and South Korea have already implemented drastic measures to fight Coronavirus and now, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, has chosen to quarantine the entire country of Italy.  So what does it mean to quarantine an entire country?  For Italy, it means the entire country is an exclusion zone or red zone.  All public events are banned and if you need to travel you must be granted permission.  In Rome, anyone that travels into the country from an infected area must report immediately for quarantine or face a penalty of 3 months in jail.  Travel is severely restricted in the country for most people and it would not be surprising to see further action, such as mandatory curfews or house arrest if the virus continues to spread.

Is it Possible for the United States to be Quarantined?

Currently, the government has the authority to quarantine and isolate for some listed infectious diseases, and the laws are fairly broad under the Department of Health and Human Services and CDC Rule 42 CFR Parts 70 and 71.  The laws suggest that it is absolutely possible for the government to enact drastic quarantine measures if necessary.  As more states declare a State of Emergency, and if the number of infected individuals continues to rise, the possibility of the United States being quarantined also increases.

While there is no need to panic, educating yourself and others on how to prepare and reduce exposure will be a critical step in the fight against this highly contagious disease.  If you are a leader of an organization, providing your employees with information and monitoring staff will be important, as well as making sure you have a plan in case one of your buildings becomes contaminated.  We have disinfection and decontamination protocols in place, developed based on decontamination jobs we have previously completed as well the CDC, OSHA, and EPA guidelines, to help prevent the spread of the virus and decontaminate buildings that may become infected.  We can help you with anything from preventive disinfection, to decontamination.  If you would like to learn more, you can reach us on our toll free hotline which is also operational 24/7 for emergency services.

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References
BBC News, BBC, 9 Mar. 2020, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51810673
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 Feb. 2020, www.cdc.gov/quarantine/aboutlawsregulationsquarantineisolation.html
NPR, NPR, 9 Mar. 2020, www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/09/813791575/italy-expands-quarantine-measures-nationwide-to-stem-spread-of-coronavirus
YouTube, 29 Jan. 2020,