On Tuesday, the Missoula County Board of Health issued a decision to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control over a policy for students and teachers to isolate or be quarantined after close contact with a COVID 19 case.

The board met to determine the effect of HB 702 on local school districts and the public at large.

After a meeting that lasted over two hours, COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr with the Missoula City County Health Department explained the board’s decision.

“The issue was actually not just specific to schools, it was the fact that under House Bill 702, we are not supposed to treat anyone any differently based on their vaccination status,” said Farr. “That affects the board policy on quarantine and isolation under a different statute than Board of Health is responsible for, ensuring that appropriate isolation and quarantine occur in order to stop the spread of a communicable disease such as COVID-19.”

Farr said the board believes HB 702 conflicts with CDC guidance for COVID 19.

“It directly conflicts with CDC guidance, because CDC guidance says when we're dealing with COVID, if you're a vaccinated person, then you do not have to quarantine as long as you are not showing any symptoms, but an unvaccinated person does need to quarantine,” she said. “And so that CDC guidance is in direct conflict with House Bill 702.”

Farr described the Board of Health’s lengthy discussion.

“The Board of Health had to meet to determine if they were going to continue to follow CDC guidance if we were going to quarantine no one, or if we were going to quarantine everyone, regardless of vaccination status,” she said. “And so there was a lengthy discussion. I believe it was about an hour and a half board meeting and the board did take public comment as well, and they voted to continue to follow CDC guidance when it comes to quarantine and isolation.”

Farr explained the effect of the board’s decision.

“It means that we will continue to say if you are a fully vaccinated individual and you remain asymptomatic after exposure to COVID-19, then you do not have to quarantine as long as you remain asymptomatic,” she said. “But, if you are an unvaccinated individual you do need to quarantine if you are a close contact to a person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 because you're more susceptible to getting it.”

Basically, the ruling states that quarantine or isolation can occur in certain situations with COVID 19 aside from protections provided by HB 702.

View the entire meeting here.


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