ALLEGAN COUNTY, MI – The Allegan County, Michigan Health Department raised eyebrows this week when they sent out a notice to parents of children who had been exposed to COVID-19, issuing a dire warning that if they fail to follow proper protocols regarding the virus that they faced penalties, up to and including having themselves or their children placed into protective custody.
Michigan State Rep. Steve Johnson (R) posted a photograph of the purported Health Department letter on his Facebook page, which was addressing the parent or guardian of a child. The letter goes over various exposure protocols relating to the pandemic, and at one point informs the parent that failure to comply with the protocols could result in serious action being taken.
“You are hereby notified that you are required to cooperate with the Allegan County Health Department in efforts to prevent or control the transmission of this serious disease or infection,” the letter says. “If you fail to take the actions prescribed in this warning notice, The Allegan County Health Department shall petition the court to see an order to compel your compliance which may result in you being taken into protective custody to protect the public’s health.”
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Rep. Johnson posted an angry response to the letter’s ominous threat, saying that the Health Department’s director should be fired over it.
“Now the Allegan County Health Director is threatening to take parents to court if the department has ‘reasonable belief’ that their child has been exposed to COVID-19 and they don’t follow her every order,” Johnson said. “This could include actions by the county to take that child away from the parents and into the government’s custody. Allegan’s County Commission needs to step up and fire this reckless and tyrannical health director for threatening to take away people’s kids for possibly coming in close contact with someone who had COVID. This absolutely should not be happening in Allegan County.”
In response to Johnson’s post, Allegan County Health Information Officer Lindsay Maunz released a statement which did not deny the threat contained in the letter, but also noted that the threat – which, according to Maunz, was apparently in-place during the 2020-2021 school year as well – has yet to be actually enforced.
We’ve received inquiries about our Quarantine Letter, with claims that ACHD is trying to take children away from their parents. These quarantine letters have been issued to individuals identified as close contacts since the start of the pandemic to ensure individuals are aware that they are required to quarantine. Many people need this quarantine documentation for work or school. Our letter also includes education for what to look for as far as symptoms, ensuring basic needs are being met and who to call based on what an individual or family needs. These quarantine letters are part of the standard procedure for stopping the spread of any infectious disease.
In 2020-2021 school year, there were 3,671 school age children that were quarantined for a known COVID-19 exposure and were sent a quarantine letter. 0 individuals have been petitioned and 0 individuals were taken into custody. Our intent for isolation and quarantine letters is to mitigate transmission of COVID-19.
Isolation and Quarantine are both proven mitigation strategies used to mitigate transmission of COVID-19.