UPDATE: Thursday evening, the office of Hunt County Bobby Stovall released the following statement concerning the suit being sought Monday morning:
The Hunt County Health Department has been diligently tracking individual COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. It has become clear that some people who have contracted COVID-19 are intentionally ignoring quarantine requirements, and returning to work or participating in other activities outside their home – even when they are fully aware that they can spread the virus. Over a month ago, Hunt County set aside $25,000 to meet the needs of affected individuals with legitimate needs so that they would not feel compelled to leave their homes until they recovered from the virus. The Commissioners Court recently increased that amount to $50,000, and those funds are being administered by Hunt County Shared Ministries.
Despite these efforts, some people who have contracted the virus have repeatedly and intentionally violated the quarantine rules, and left their homes – even after repeated and clear warnings that they were not allowed to leave their homes. This type of behavior is dangerous to the public health by any measure.
On July 1, 2020, Hunt County filed suit against one such individual. The County is seeking a judicial order requiring that the individual in question by confined to their home until they test negative for COVID-19. The pleading was filed as a sealed pleading due to HIPPA requirements that individuals with COVID-19 not be identified to the public. A hearing on the matter is set for 9:00am next Monday morning, July 6, 2020, but will not be open to the public due to HIPPA rules.
Original story: Hunt County officials are preparing to go to court to file a civil order which would require a county resident to remain in his home while being diagnosed with a communicable disease.
County Civil Attorney Daniel Ray indicated a press release about the case was to be released and said he could not divulge many details, as much of the information falls under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
“It involves a person who is carrying a communicable disease who is not staying in their house,” Ray said.
The press release had not been issued as of press time Thursday.
The hearing is scheduled at 9 a.m. Monday in the 196th District Court.
The court’s docket for Monday indicates the hearing is an application for a court order under the Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 81, Subchapter G, which allows for court orders for the management of persons with communicable diseases.
“We are seeking the court order to require this person to stay in their house until they test negative,” Ray said, adding the individual received a request for the court order Thursday morning and has had an attorney appointed to represent them.