Kentucky judges have started imposing a form of house arrest on stubborn coronavirus patients who break their self-isolation orders, in an effort to stop them from spreading the disease known as COVID-19.
Circuit judges have ordered two coronavirus patients and one patient’s relative to wear ankle monitors in Louisville, Ky., after they broke quarantine orders, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.
The first order was handed down after a patient broke self-quarantine to go shopping on March 21, according to court documents obtained by station WTVO.
Public health officials can ask for a person to be isolated for coronavirus under state law, and it’s up to a circuit judge to approve or deny the order. Affected individuals are not charged with a crime.
Judge Charles Cunningham ordered two relatives to wear ankle monitors on March 27, after one tested positive for the disease and both refused to stay indoors. The monitors are being used to ensure that law enforcement can keep people from spreading the virus.
“It’s something we’re all feeling our way through,” Cunningham told the Courier-Journal. “We’re trying to figure out how this should be done.”
Local officials say they desperately need people to follow the rules for the greater good, especially after multiple police and firefighters were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
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Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says the region is grappling with more than 200 cases of the virus, and he needs people to take it seriously and practise their social distancing.
“The more we all stay at home, the safer we’re all going to be,” Fischer said on Tuesday, according to Wave 3 News.
“We would prefer not to have to do this at all,” Amy Hess, the city’s chief of public services, told the Courier-Journal.
However, Hess says the house arrest approach is “well-suited” to enforcing social distancing, when necessary.