Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 32.1. Health
5/22/2019

Article 3.01. Isolation of Certain Persons with Communicable Diseases of Public Health Significance.

§ 32.1-48.01. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Appropriate precautions" means those specific measures which have been demonstrated by current scientific evidence to assist in preventing transmission of a communicable disease of public health significance. Appropriate precautions will vary according to the disease.

"At-risk behavior" means engaging in acts which a person, who has been informed that he is infected with a communicable disease of public health significance, knows may infect other persons without taking appropriate precautions to protect the health of the other persons.

"Communicable disease of public health significance" means an illness of public health significance, as determined by the State Health Commissioner, caused by a specific or suspected infectious agent that may be transmitted directly or indirectly from one individual to another.

"Communicable disease of public health significance" shall include, but may not be limited to, infections caused by human immunodeficiency viruses, blood-borne pathogens, and tubercle bacillus. The State Health Commissioner may determine that diseases caused by other pathogens constitute communicable diseases of public health significance. Further, "a communicable disease of public health significance" shall become a "communicable disease of public health threat" upon the finding of the State Health Commissioner of exceptional circumstances pursuant to Article 3.02 (§ 32.1-48.05 et seq.) of this chapter.

1990, c. 958; 2004, cc. 773, 1021.

§ 32.1-48.02. Investigations of verified reports or medical evidence; counseling; outpatient and emergency treatment orders; custody upon emergency order; application of article.

A. Upon receiving at least two verified reports or upon receiving medical evidence that any person who is reputed to know that he is infected with a communicable disease of public health significance is engaging in at-risk behavior, the Commissioner or his designee may conduct an investigation through an examination of the records of the Department and other medical records to determine the disease status of the individual and that there is cause to believe he is engaging in at-risk behavior.

B. If the investigation indicates that the person has a communicable disease of public health significance caused by a non-airborne microorganism and that there is cause to believe he is engaging in at-risk behavior, the Commissioner or his designee may issue an order for such person to report to the local or district health department in the jurisdiction in which he resides to receive counseling on the etiology, effects and prevention of the specific disease of public health significance. The person conducting the counseling shall prepare and submit a report to the Commissioner or his designee on the counseling session or sessions in which he shall document that the person so counseled has been informed about the acts that constitute at-risk behavior, appropriate precautions, and the need to use appropriate precautions. The counselor shall also report any statements indicating the intentions or understanding of the person so counseled.

C. If the investigation, described in subsection A, indicates that the person has a communicable disease of public health significance caused by an airborne microorganism, such as tubercle bacillus, that causes serious disease and can result in death and that the person has refused or failed to adhere to a prescribed course of treatment and, despite counseling, is engaging in conduct that places uninfected persons at risk of contracting such airborne communicable disease of public health significance, the Commissioner or his designee may issue an outpatient treatment order for such person to report to the local or district health department in the jurisdiction in which he resides to receive appropriate outpatient treatment and education concerning his disease.

D. If the investigation, described in subsection A, indicates that the person has a communicable disease of public health significance caused by an airborne microorganism, such as tubercle bacillus, which causes serious disease and can result in death and, despite documented and appropriate counseling, is engaging in conduct that unreasonably places uninfected persons at risk of contracting such airborne communicable disease of public health significance, such as tuberculosis, and medical data demonstrate that he poses an imminent threat to the health of others, the Commissioner may issue an emergency order requiring such person to be taken immediately into custody and placed, for a period, not to exceed 48 hours, in the least restrictive, willing facility providing protection of the health of others and appropriate treatment to the person upon finding that at least one of the following conditions is met:

1. The person has refused or failed to report to the local health department after having been ordered to do so pursuant to subsection C, for appropriate outpatient treatment and education concerning his disease;

2. The person has a documented history of failure to adhere to a prescribed course of treatment; or

3. Documentation exists that the person has indicated that he will not comply with the prescribed treatment.

If the specified 48-hour period terminates on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, such person may be detained until the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. During this period, the Commissioner shall proceed in accordance with § 32.1-48.03.

E. In order to implement an emergency order issued pursuant to subsection D of this section, all state and local law-enforcement officers are authorized to take custody of the subject of such emergency order immediately upon issuance of the emergency order by the Commissioner.

F. The provisions of this article shall only apply to communicable diseases of public health significance and shall not apply to communicable diseases of public health threat.

1990, c. 958; 1993, c. 705; 2001, c. 837; 2004, cc. 773, 1021.

§ 32.1-48.03. Petition for hearing; temporary detention.

A. Upon receiving a verified report or upon receiving medical evidence that any person who has been counseled pursuant to § 32.1-48.02 has continued to engage in at-risk behavior, the Commissioner or his designee may petition the general district court of the county or city in which such person resides to order the person to appear before the court to determine whether isolation is necessary to protect the public health from the risk of infection with a communicable disease of public health significance.

B. If such person cannot be conveniently brought before the court, the court may issue an order of temporary detention. The officer executing the order of temporary detention shall order such person to remain confined in his home or another's residence or in some convenient and willing institution or other willing place for a period not to exceed 48 hours prior to a hearing. An electronic device may be used to enforce such detention in the person's home or another's residence. The institution or other place of temporary detention shall not include a jail or other place of confinement for persons charged with criminal offenses.

If the specified 48-hour period terminates on a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday or day on which the court is lawfully closed, such person may be detained until the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday or day on which the court is lawfully closed.

C. Any person ordered to appear before the court pursuant to this section shall be informed of his right to be represented by counsel. The court shall provide the person with reasonable opportunity to employ counsel at his own expense, if so requested. If the person is not represented by counsel, the court shall appoint an attorney-at-law to represent him. Counsel so appointed shall be paid a fee of $75 and his necessary expenses.

1990, c. 958; 2001, c. 837; 2004, cc. 773, 1021.

§ 32.1-48.04. Isolation hearing; conditions; order for isolation; right to appeal.

A. The isolation hearing shall be held within 48 hours of the execution of any temporary detention order issued or, if the 48-hour period terminates on a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday or day on which the court is lawfully closed, the isolation hearing shall be the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday or day on which the court is lawfully closed.

Prior to the hearing, the court shall fully inform the person who is infected with the communicable disease of public health significance of the basis for his detention, if any, the basis upon which he may be isolated, and the right of appeal of its decision.

B. An order for isolation in the person's home or another's residence or an institution or other place, including a jail when no other reasonable alternative is available, may be issued upon a finding by the court that the following conditions are met:

1. The person is infected with a communicable disease of public health significance.

2. The person is engaging in at-risk behavior.

3. The person has demonstrated an intentional disregard for the health of the public by engaging in behavior which has placed others at risk for infection with the communicable disease of public health significance.

4. There is no other reasonable alternative means of reducing the risk to public health.

C. Any order for isolation in the person's home or another's residence or an institution or other place shall be valid for no more than 120 days, or for a shorter period of time if the Commissioner or his designee, or the court upon petition, determines that the person no longer poses a substantial threat to the health of others. Orders for isolation in the person's home or another's residence may be enforced through the use of electronic devices. Orders for isolation may include additional requirements such as participation in counseling or education programs. The court may, upon finding that the person no longer poses a substantial threat to the health of others, issue an order solely for participation in counseling or educational programs.

D. Isolation orders shall not be renewed without affording the person all rights conferred in this article.

Any person under an isolation order pursuant to this section shall have the right to appeal such order to the circuit court in the jurisdiction in which he resides. Such appeal shall be filed within 30 days from the date of the order. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 19.2-241 relating to the time within which the court shall set criminal cases for trial, any appeal of an isolation order shall be given priority over all other pending matters before the court, except those matters under appeal pursuant to § 37.2-821, and shall be heard as soon possible by the court. The clerk of the court from which an appeal is taken shall immediately transmit the record to the clerk of the appellate court.

The appeal shall be heard de novo. An order continuing the isolation shall only be entered if the conditions set forth in subsection B are met at the time the appeal is heard.

If the person under an isolation order is not represented by counsel, the judge shall appoint an attorney-at-law to represent him. Counsel so appointed shall be paid a fee of $150 and his necessary expenses. The order of the court from which the appeal is taken shall be defended by the attorney for the Commonwealth.

1990, c. 958; 2001, c. 837; 2004, cc. 773, 1021.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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