Officials with Broward County Department of Health and the Florida Surgeon General’s Office have created a process to force-quarantine people who have not even tested positive for Coronavirus, according to a memo from inside the Broward County Department of Health obtained by NATIONAL FILE after a source filed a public information request. The March 27 memo written by Joshua D. Lenchus, shortly before he was named chief medical officer this month of Broward Health Medical Center, confirms that the process allows for a “Quarantine Order” to be issued for “Persons Under Investigation” who have not even tested positive. This scoop comes amid public outcry after we exposed Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry caught on tape discussing going into “family homes” and assisted living facilities to isolate people during the Coronavirus outbreak. Freedom protesters wielding petitions were shut out of the Broward Commissioners meeting on Tuesday.
Here is Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry discussing going into “family homes” to isolate people.
“March 27, 2020
I have worked with the Broward County Department of Health (“DOH”) and the Florida Surgeon General’s Office to create a process for issuing a “Quarantine Order” (or “Order”) for those patients who are unsafe to be let out of the hospital. This applies to patients who are “Persons Under Investigation” (“PUI”) or individuals who are positive for COVID-19 when such individuals wish to leave against medical advice (AMA).
1. Upon learning that a patient wishes to leave AMA, assess their disposition situation. a. If the patient is able to self-quarantine and follow discharge instructions, the patient may be allowed to leave but follow the AMA policy.
b. If the patient is not able to self-quarantine and follow discharge instructions, begin the process of obtaining a Quarantine Order and summon a security officer to be immediately assigned to the patient.
2. The following is the process for obtaining a quarantine order: a. Contact Mr. Mario Carranza, TB Surveillance Manager at the Florida Department of Health – Broward County (“DOH”) to inform him that you have a patient for whom a Quarantine Order is being requested. Mr. Carranza can be reached at: 954-298-1090.
b. Review the patient’s chart so that you can provide some basic information about the patient (name, DOB, date of presentation, chief complaint, initial exam findings paying particular attention to temperature, chest x-ray and CT scan, if performed, and indicate when the COVID-19 test was sent if the patient is a PUI).
c. There may be a couple of back-and-forth calls to finalize the information for the Quarantine Order, culminating in the DOH verbally informing you that the Order has been executed and will be hand-delivered to your facility.
d. A Quarantine Order is a legally enforceable action issued by the DOH under the auspices of the Florida Surgeon General pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Orders declaring a Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 in Florida. The patient is not being held under a Baker Act or Marchman Act. The duration of the Quarantine Order can vary, and the patient is to be held until the Order is lifted or expires.
e. A Quarantine Order can be lifted when a patient’s test results return negative if a PUI, or when the patient is able to self-quarantine.
f. If a patient’s test results return negative or if the patient is able to self-quarantine, contact Mr. Carranza to inform him of the patient’s status and ask that he initiate the process to lift the Quarantine Order.
g. Thereafter, the DOH may contact you for additional information until the “Lift Order” is executed.
h. Once the DOH verbally confirms the Lift Order, the patient may be safely discharged.
i. The written Lift Order will be hand-delivered to your facility.
j. The Quarantine and Lift Orders are to be placed in the patient’s medical record and all other medical record documentation should be followed.
Joshua D. Lenchus, DO, RPh, FACP, SFHM Regional Medical Officer”
LENCHUS’ MEMO ENDS