On June 24, 2020 the New York State Department of Health (DOH) published formal notice of its June 5th emergency rule “necessary to clarify and strengthen the Department’s authority and that of the local health departments to take specific actions to control the spread of disease, including actions related to investigation and response to a disease outbreak, as well as the issuance of isolation and quarantine orders.” Though the emergency regulations are issued in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, DOH indicates it intends to adopt the emergency rule as a permanent rule and will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the State Register at some future date.

The emergency rule amends Title 10 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations in parts 2, 58, and 405. The emergency changes are effective as of June 5th until September 2nd. Below are some highlights of the changes made by the emergency rule.

Amendments to 10 NYCRR part 2 include:

  • Amending existing definitions and adding new defined terms such as “quarantine,” “contact,” and “isolation.”
  • Clarifying local health department authority to investigate a case, suspect case, outbreak, or unusual disease, and requires individuals and entities subject to a public health investigation to cooperate with the DOH and local health department.
  • Adding new language to make clear that the DOH has the authority to issue isolation and quarantine orders, as do local departments of health, and the process for such orders and penalties for any violation.
  • Relocating and updating existing regulations that require the attending physician to report cases and suspected cases to the local health authority, and require physicians to provide instructions concerning how to protect others.

Amendments to 10 NYCRR 58 include:

  • Requiring DOH to designate communicable diseases that require prompt action, and to make available a list of such diseases on the DOH website.
  • Requiring clinical laboratories to immediately report positive test results for communicable diseases identified as requiring prompt attention.
  • Requiring clinical laboratories to report all test results, including negative and indeterminate results, for communicable diseases identified as requiring prompt attention.

Amendments to 10 NYCRR 405 include:

  • Mandating hospitals to report syndromic surveillance data during an outbreak of a highly contagious communicable disease.
  • Permitting DOH to direct hospitals to take patients during an outbreak of a highly contagious communicable disease.

This post was co-authored by Michael Lisitano, legal intern at Robinson+Cole. Michael is not yet admitted to practice law.