Kentucky Man Who Tested Positive for Coronavirus Guarded at Home by Police After He Refused to Quarantine

A Kentucky man who tested positive for the new coronavirus is being guarded by a police officer after he refused to quarantine.

The 53-year-old patient tested positive at the University of Louisville but left against medical advice, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said in a news release. The Lincoln Trail District Health Department asked the man to self-quarantine, but he refused.

The man is now being kept at home in Nelson with a law enforcement officer posted outside his home, Beshear said, according to The Lexington Herald Leader.

"It's a step I hoped I'd never have to take, but we can't allow one person who we know has the virus to refuse to protect their neighbors," Beshear said. "We've got to make sure that people who have tested positive, that we know could be spreading the virus, and simply refuse to do the right thing, do the right thing."

Beshear's office has been contacted for additional comment.

The Leader reported that Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts declared a state of emergency to invoke a statute that allows him to force a quarantine.

In a Monday morning update, Beshear announced the state's first death from COVID-19.

"Sadly, last night, we lost a Bourbon County man who was treated for multiple medical conditions and tested positive for COVID-19, which was a contributing factor," Beshear said.

"My family and every Kentuckian is lifting up his friends, family and community in our thoughts and prayers. While we have taken aggressive action to combat this world health pandemic, in the days and weeks ahead, we must continue to pull together as Kentuckians to stop the spread of this virus. We are a resilient people. We will beat this virus."

As of 4 p.m. ET on Monday the state had a total of 22 positive cases, according to the Kentucky Department for Public Health. A total of 317 people have been tested in the state.

Following the announcement of the state's first death, Beshear announced new measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. They included closing childcare centers (with an exception for healthcare workers), a three-month extension on driver's licenses and the closing of in-person government services.

Beshear also issued an executive order stating food and beverage sales in restaurants and bars are restricted to carry-out, delivery and drive-thru only.

There are more than 4,600 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the death toll climbed to 85 on Tuesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Seventeen people have recovered.

Globally, the new coronavirus has sickened more than 182,000 people and killed more than 7,100. Almost 80,000 people have recovered.

coronavirus test
Dawn Canova, clinical manager for outpatient wound care at Carroll Hospital, handles a sample from a person tested for the coronavirus at a drive-thru station in the hospital's parking garage March 16, 2020 in Westminster, Maryland. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of 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

  • If you feel unwell seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities, follow guidance.

Mask 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 mask, do not reuse single-use masks.