Coronavirus Patients Who Refuse to Self-Isolate Are Being Put on House Arrest In Kentucky

Coronavirus patients who refuse to self-isolate are being placed under house arrest in Louisville, Kentucky—but there are concerns that the corrections officers who are placing GPS tracking devices on these individuals aren't being properly protected.

Judges in Jefferson County are issuing court orders to hold COVID-19 patients who don't stay at home liable for their actions, WHAS11 reported.

According to the station, the Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness Department has the authority to issue an "order of isolation" under state law, which a circuit judge can approve or deny.

If the order is served, officers from the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections then place a GPS monitoring device on the patient, who could be arrested or face charges if they break the terms of the order.

According to WDRB, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Charles Cunningham on Friday issued an order for two Louisville residents who live together to stay home.

One of them tested positive for coronavirus on March 23, but was spotted taking a walk three days later, while the other was also refusing to stay inside, according to the station.

Kentucky playground
The playground at Central Park in downtown Louisville is closed due to the Coronavirus anxiety on March29 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

WHAS11 reported that a man went shopping on March 21 despite testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

On Monday, a corrections officer was sent home from work after turning up with a raised temperature. The officer, who had come into contact with one of the coronavirus patients on house arrest last week, is hoping to be tested this week.

Officers coming into contact with COVID-19 patients are given a mask, goggles and a chemical-resistant coverall suit.

But Tracy Dotson, a spokesperson for Louisville Corrections FOP Lodge 77, told Newsweek that this is inadequate and officers coming in direct contact with infected patients should be given more protection.

"While a paper mask and safety glasses may be recommended for dealing with precautionary and potential COVID-19 exposures, we feel that dealing with direct contact, confirmed COVID-19 cases should require a higher level of protection, such as a respirator and full face mask," he said. "The Officers of Louisville Metro Corrections are more than willing and capable to handle these duties but the FOP doesn't think it's to great an ask to ensure our First Responders are given the training and equipment we need to effectively work through these trying times."

The Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness Department have been contacted for additional comment.

Kentucky had at least 480 cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths caused by it, as of 5 p.m. ET on Monday, according to a news release from Governor Andy Beshear's office.

Beshear hasn't issued a stay-at-home order for the state, but has ordered all non-essential businesses to close and urged people to practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. On Monday, he issued an order limiting out-of-state travel.

Across the U.S., the death toll has climbed to 3,170 and the number of confirmed cases has risen to more than 164,000, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. More than 5,900 people have recovered.

This article has been updated to include a comment from Louisville Corrections spokesman.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.