Emergency Law Inventory | Full Law Text

Law Number

Wis. Stat. 252.06

Summary Title

Isolation and Quarantine Powers of Local Health Officer


As a general rule, a local health officer can require the isolation of an individual or a quarantine of the people with whom the individual came into contact. If a local health officer suspects the presence of a communicable disease, the local health officer must have investigations and exams conducted such as compelling diagnostic reports from physicians regarding sick patients. If it is highly likely that an individual is infected or the individual’s positive diagnosis has been medically confirmed, the local health officer must quarantine or isolate the individual or institute other necessary restrictions, including the appointment of quarantine guards. In the case that the infected individual is in jail, the local health officer will submit a written order that the institution must send the prisoner to a safe and secure place until recovered. If there is potential doubt concerning the diagnosis, the local health officer must consult with a physician. A local health officer can also name individuals who are permitted to have direct contact with an infected individual.

Full Title

Isolation and quarantine

Full Text

(1) The department or the local health officer acting on behalf of the department may require isolation of a patient or of an individual under s. 252.041 (1) (b), quarantine of contacts, concurrent and terminal disinfection, or modified forms of these procedures as may be necessary and as are determined by the department by rule. (3) If a local health officer suspects or is informed of the existence of any communicable disease, the officer shall at once investigate and make or cause such examinations to be made as are necessary. The diagnostic report of a physician, the notification or confirmatory report of a parent or caretaker of the patient, or a reasonable belief in the existence of a communicable disease shall require the local health officer immediately to quarantine, isolate, require restrictions or take other communicable disease control measures in the manner, upon the persons and for the time specified in rules promulgated by the department. If the local health officer is not a physician, he or she shall consult a physician as speedily as possible where there is reasonable doubt or disagreement in diagnosis and where advice is needed. The local health officer shall investigate evasion of the laws and rules concerning communicable disease and shall act to protect the public. (4) (a) If deemed necessary by the department or a local health officer for a particular communicable disease, all persons except the local health officer, his or her representative, attending physicians and nurses, members of the clergy, the members of the immediate family and any other person having a special written permit from the local health officer are forbidden to be in direct contact with the patient. (b) If s. 250.042 (1) applies, all of the following apply: 1. No person, other than a person authorized by the public health authority or agent of the public health authority, may enter an isolation or quarantine premises. 2. A violation of subd. 1. is subject to a fine not to exceed 10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 9 months, or both. 3. Any person, whether authorized under subd. 1. or not, who enters an isolation or quarantine premises may be subject to isolation or quarantine under this section. (5) The local health officer shall employ as many persons as are necessary to execute his or her orders and properly guard any place if quarantine or other restrictions on communicable disease are violated or intent to violate is manifested. These persons shall be sworn in as quarantine guards, shall have police powers, and may use all necessary means to enforce the state laws for the prevention and control of communicable diseases, or the orders and rules of the department or any local health officer. (6) (a) When the local health officer deems it necessary that a person be quarantined or otherwise restricted in a separate place, the officer shall remove the person, if it can be done without danger to the persons health, to this place. (b) When a person confined in a jail, state prison, mental health institute or other public place of detention has a disease which the local health officer or the director of health at the institution deems dangerous to the health of other residents or the neighborhood, the local health officer or the director of health at the institution shall order in writing the removal of the person to a hospital or other place of safety, there to be provided for and securely kept. Upon recovery the person shall be returned; and if the person was committed by a court or under process the removal order or a copy shall be returned by the local health officer to the committing court officer. (10) (a) Expenses for necessary medical care, food and other articles needed for the care of the infected person shall be charged against the person or whoever is liable for the persons support. (b) The county or municipality in which a person with a communicable disease resides is liable for the following costs accruing under this section, unless the costs are payable through 3rd-party liability or through any benefit system: 1. The expense of employing guards under sub. (5). 2. The expense of maintaining quarantine and enforcing isolation of the quarantined area. 3. The expense of conducting examinations and tests for disease carriers made under the direction of the local health officer. 4. The expense of care provided under par. (a) to any dependent person, as defined in s. 49.01 (2). (c) All expenses incurred by a local health department, or by an entity designated as a local health department by a federally recognized American Indian tribe or band in this state, in quarantining a person outside his or her home during a state of emergency related to public health declared by the governor under s. 323.10 and not reimbursed from federal funds shall be paid for under either of the following, as appropriate: 1. If the governor designates the department as the lead state agency under s. 323.10, from the appropriation under s. 20.435 (1) (c). 2. If the governor does not designate the department as the lead state agency under s. 323.10, from the appropriation under s. 20.465 (3) (e).