The Allegan County Health Department is threatening jail and child confiscation over alleged coronavirus order violations.
Allegan County voted 61 percent for Donald Trump in the 2020 election and is run entirely by Republicans. Nevertheless, the agency issued a letter August 27 to an unknown parent, who posted it on social media:
The Allegan County Health Department has become aware that your son/daughter is a close contact to a COVID-19 positive individual and has determined that he/she is a “carrier”, as defined by Michigan Law, of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2),” the letter began.
Then, in bold font, the reader was warned, “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 health department threatened the recipient that failure to obey, the agency “shall” petition the circuit court to force compliance, “which may result in you being taken into protective custody to protect the public’s health.”
The health department also warned that non-compliance may result in it seeking to seize the child in question.
“Should any non-compliant behavior create an emergency situation where he/she becomes a health threat to others, an immediate court order shall be sought pursuant to Michigan law,” the letter read.
“Upon issuance of this court order, he/she may be taken into protective custody to protect the public’s health,” it said.
As news of the threat made by the county health department spread, local leaders and elected officials spoke out against the move.
Jon Rocha, a Republican candidate for Congress in the area, denounced the threat on Facebook, saying, “We were all crazy conspiracy theorists but now do you understand?”
“They are willing to take your child from you if you refuse to comply to quarantine or mask up,” he said, noting it was Allegan County, apparently implying it was not a bastion of liberalism where bureaucrats routinely use governmental threats to force compliance.
Furthermore, Michigan State Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland), who represents parts of Allegan County, called for the health director of the organization to be fired.
“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,” Johnson said.
After Johnson’s post, Allegan County Health Information Officer Lindsay Maunz released a statement describing that these letters have been issued throughout the pandemic.
“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,” she said.
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