Jacobs: NY shouldn’t have power to remove people exposed to Covid from their homes

Posted 16 February 2022 at 8:00 am

Press Release, Congressman Chris Jacobs

ORCHARD PARK – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) submitted a comment to the New York State Department of Health in opposition to the proposed rule I.D. No. HLT-50-21-0002-EP, pertaining to Investigation, Isolation, and Quarantine for communicable diseases.

“As this proposed rule is written, it could give local health officials the power to remove individuals from their homes and place them in a government-controlled quarantine facility if they are simply exposed to Covid-19 or other communicable diseases,” Jacobs said. “Not only is this blatantly authoritarian, but it is an affront to the individual freedoms and liberties of each and every New Yorker. As other states move to end Covid-19 restrictions, New York State is actively working to assume more power over residents’ lives and implement policies that violate their constitutional rights – I strongly oppose any such measure.”

Jacobs submitted this full comment to the New York State Department of Health – Bureau of Program Counsel, Regulatory Affairs:

“Dear Ms. Ceroalo,

“I urge you to not to adopt the above-referenced proposed regulation relating to investigation, isolation and quarantine in response to an outbreak of communicable disease. This proposed regulation is both unnecessary and contrary to the established laws of New York State.

“The regulation as currently drafted gives state and local health officials the power to remove residents from their homes and place them in a government-controlled facility. It includes not only people who are confirmed infected with COVID-19, but also covers people simply exposed to COVID-19.

“We are almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and there are very few instances of New York State, or any state for that matter, forcibly quarantining people outside their homes. Circumstances have not changed so that they must do so now. There is no evidence that this policy if implemented would even have any effect on the spread of communicable diseases. The notice of rulemaking does not cite any scientific evidence to support this policy, and only refers generally to the spread of COVID-19 as justification for the regulation’s necessity.

“The regulation is also a plain violation of New Yorkers’ freedoms and New York State law. Because the rulemaking covers people who are even only potentially exposed, the regulation can affect almost every New Yorker. The notice of rulemaking cites Section 225 of the Public Health Law. This is an extremely broad reading of the law. Under the State’s interpretation, there is virtually no limit to what the Department of Health can do. Furthermore, it is simply wrong for the government to remove individuals from their homes based on a temporary medical condition. We are a country and a state that prizes individual freedom and respects due process. This regulation flouts both of those values.”