Gallatin County health officer orders COVID-19 cases and close contacts to stay at home

Posted at 3:39 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 17:48:20-04

According to a Gallatin City-County Health Department (GCCHD) press release, Health Officer Matt Kelley has signed an order requiring people who have tested positive for COVID-19—as well as people who have been identified by GCCHD as close contacts to a known case—to stay at home.

The main purpose of the order is to give public health officials and law enforcement tools to use "in the rare event that someone is unwilling or unable to stay at home," according to the press release, and will not impact "the vast majority of individuals who are making a good-faith effort to stay at home after being diagnosed or while awaiting test results."

“Virtually everyone we are working with has been incredibly cooperative in staying home to protect themselves and their community,” Kelley said. “This order is a tool for the Health Department that we can use to be prepared if we have a situation where someone is not being cooperative."

“For the general public, we still just need them to pay attention and heed the governor’s stay-at-home directive to their best ability. The order I signed Monday is most relevant to people who the health department contacts because they are a known case or a close contact of a known case. We will provide guidance and support to help them do the right thing and have the support they need,” he added.

GCCHD distinguishes between isolation and quarantine as follows:

Isolation - A critical component of reducing the spread of COVID-19 by separating sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

Quarantine - Separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

According to GCCHD, the order requires:

  • All people with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing) who have a test result for COVID-19 pending or who have been identified by GCCHD as a close contact of someone who is a known case for COVID-19, shall stay in a quarantine location;
  • All people who test positive for COVID-19 must remain in isolation at their home or recovery facility except to receive medical care and can only discontinue isolation after being released by GCCHD staff.

Kelley reiterated that this order would primarily be used by GCCHD to manage known cases or individuals who the health department has identified as close contacts with a known COVID-19 case.