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Isolation and Quarantine Requirements


Welcome to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) Isolation and Quarantine web site. Isolation and quarantine are used routinely in Massachusetts to control the spread of communicable diseases. Isolation refers to separating people who are ill from other people to prevent the spread of a communicable disease. Quarantine refers to separating and restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a communicable disease and are not yet ill.

This web site is an online resource for those who are responsible for protecting the public health, including health care providers, public health nurses, health directors, school nurses, emergency medical technicians, etc.

Helpful Background Documents

Specific Professional Responsibilities or Jurisdictional Issues

Documents Pertaining to Privacy and Confidentiality Concerns

Isolation and Quarantine Case Study Examining Fictitious Mass Exposure to an Infectious Agent

Technical Resources that Include Information about Isolation and Quarantine

Legal Documents for Use by Municipal Attorneys and Local Boards of Health When Ordering and Enforcing Isolation

In most instances, local boards of health will be able to obtain voluntarily compliance with isolation or quarantine. If all means of eliciting voluntary compliance have failed, local boards of health may need to work with their municipal attorneys to obtain a court order to place a person in isolation or quarantine. The majority of the documents listed below were developed specifically for use in seeking a court order for the isolation of a person infected with SARS; however they may be modified to address other diseases.

Obtaining Voluntary Compliance

  • Letter to SARS Patient with Massachusetts Residence (2008)
  • Letter to SARS Patient without Massachusetts Residence (2008)
  • SARS Information for Persons in Home Isolation (2008)
  • SARS Information for Persons in Home Quarantine (2008)

Administrative Enforcement of Isolation or Quarantine

  • Emergency SARS Isolation Order (2008)
  • Emergency Varicella Quarantine Order (2008)

Enforcement of Isolation or Quarantine through Superior Court

Background on the Court Process

  • Background Information on the Court Process for Cities and Towns (2008)
  • Time Line for Seeking Judicial Order Authorizing Removal and Isolation (2008)
  • Instructions for Filling out the Complaint and Supporting Documents Relating to Mandatory Isolation of a SARS Patient (2008)
  • Use of SARS Legal Documents to Isolate Someone for a Different Disease (2008)
  • Summary of Steps for Isolation of an Individual (2008)

Papers to be Filed in Court

  • Letter to Clerk of Court to Request Waiver of Filing Fees (2008)
  • Complaint, Request for Temporary Restraining Order, and Application for Preliminary and Permanent Injunction (2008)
  • Physicianís or Other Health Care Providerís Affidavit of Medical Examination, Treatment or Evaluation (2008)
  • Physicianís, Other Health Care Providerís, or Health Officialís Affidavit of Patientís Unwillingness to Remain Isolated at Home (2008)
  • Physicianís, Other Health Care Providerís, or Local Board of Healthís Affidavit of Medical Examination, Treatment or Evaluation AND Patientís Unwillingness to Remain Isolated at Home (2008)
  • Ex Parte Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (2008)
  • Temporary Restraining Order (2008)
  • Designated Facility for Isolation (2008)
  • Ex Parte Motion to Impound Case File (2008)
  • Impoundment Order (2008)
  • Motion to Proceed without Complying with Superior Court Rule 9A (2008)
  • Notice of Hearing of an Application for Preliminary Injunction (2008)
  • Order on Application for Preliminary Injunction (2008)
  • Warrant to Law Enforcement Personnel (2008)

How to Access the Documents

  • All of the legal documents on this page are posted on the Massachusetts Health and Homeland Alert Network (HHAN) in the Isolation and Quarantine Documents Group. For more information about the HHAN and how to access it, please contact Scott Kenfield at Alert.Network@State.MA.US  or call 617-983-6875.
  • For questions about these documents, please contact the Division of Epidemiology and Immunizationís Health Education Unit at 617-983-6800.






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