Ebola Victim in Hawaii? Thankfully, it appears not, but the potential for an infectious or viral outbreak prompted this disaster-law wonk to crack open my copy of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and see what the government can actually do in the event of such an outbreak.Is the answer similar to what J. T. Walsh said in the movie Outbreak?So, what can the State of Hawaii do to respond to a potential public health outbreak? Quite a lot actually.In response to a threat of "dangerous disease", the Director of the Department of Health can maintain a place of quarantine and may quarantine any individual by the least restrictive means necessary to protect public health. Haw. Rev. Stat. 325-8.Some interesting points about a quarantine, under Hawaii law:
- Violation of a quarantine order is a misdemeanor.
- A quarantine order is obtained, absent immediate threat to public health, by way of ex parte order obtained from the Circuit Court. In a situation of immediate threat to public health, the Department of Health may quarantine an individual then apply for the ex parte order.
- There is a right to contest the order at hearing and to contest the continued quarantine every thirty days thereafter.
- The State, upon written request, must appoint counsel for the quarantined individuals.
I will leave you with the final tidbit of information about quarantines? The costs, in terms of food, lodging, medicine for the quarantined individuals, are borne by the individuals themselves.
And, I couldn't find any statutory reference to authorizing a "fuel air" bomb to vigorously enforce the quarantine. Whew.