CHA News Article

CDPH Issues Risk-Based Ebola Quarantine Order and Guidelines for Counties
State to assess individuals returning from Ebola-affected regions; updated federal guidelines recommend also monitoring those potentially exposed in U.S.

While there are no reported or confirmed cases of Ebola in California, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)  took action Oct. 29 to help prevent any potential spread of the disease in the state by issuing a quarantine order and guidelines that require counties to assess individuals at risk for Ebola and tailor an appropriate level of quarantine as needed. The order applies to anyone traveling to California who has 1) traveled to California from an Ebola-affected area and 2) had contact with someone who has a confirmed case of Ebola, and requires those travelers to be quarantined for 21 days. Anyone traveling to this region who has not come into contact with a person with Ebola will not be subject to quarantine.

Local county health officers will issue quarantine orders for individuals and establish quarantine limitations on a case-by-case basis. The limitations will be based on new guidance also released today by CDPH, titled “Guidance for the Evaluation and Management of Contacts to Ebola Virus Disease.” Although quarantine can involve isolation at home, it may be tailored to allow for greater movement of individuals who are deemed to be at lower risk.

An Ebola-affected area is one determined as an active area by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which currently includes Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In California, local health officers have the authority to order quarantine of people who may have an infectious disease that threatens public health. According to CDPH, today’s order will ensure consistent application across the state of quarantine for high-risk individuals in order to control risks from Ebola. For more information, see the complete CDPH press release.

CDC Updates Ebola Monitoring Guidelines
The state guidelines are based on recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which released guidelines earlier this week. However, the CDC guidance provides recommendations not only for monitoring and assessing individuals from Ebola-affected countries, but also those potentially exposed in the U.S.

The CDC guidance establishes four risk levels — high, some, low and no — for categorizing these individuals. The CDC describes the role of state or local public health officers in monitoring these individuals, and recommends they conduct  either “direct active monitoring” (observing individuals daily to assess symptoms) or “active monitoring” (communicating with individuals daily about specific signs and symptoms). The type of monitoring needed for a specific case depends on risk level and clinical presentation. The CDC also includes guidelines for specific settings. Health care workers treating Ebola patients in the U.S., for example, are considered low risk if they have worn personal protective equipment with no known breaches in infection control. For more information, visit