TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A House Republican wants to bolster the authority of the Florida Department of Health in trying to prevent the spread of communicable diseases during public-health emergencies.

Rep. Julio Gonzalez, R-Venice has filed a bill that would add to the department’s power to order quarantines for people who are believed to have been exposed to communicable diseases but are not ill.

During public-health emergencies, it would allow the department to order “isolation” for people who are “reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease.”

Also the bill says that orders for quarantine or isolation would be immediately enforceable by law-enforcement officers.

The bill will be considered during the legislative session that starts March 3. Gonzalez, a newly elected House member, is an orthopedic surgeon.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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