Four Kentucky residents have been slapped with wearing court-ordered ankle monitoring bracelets for violating an agreement with doctors to quarantine after being diagnosed or exposed to someone with a positive case of novel coronavirus, according to court documents.
Since the coronavirus was first reported in Kentucky on March 6, the state's number of confirmed cases has ballooned to over 770 and resulted in 31 deaths, said Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday. Worldwide, over 1 million people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, since it was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December.
State and health officials in Kentucky have enforced stay-at-home orders and social distancing, and they have daily announcements that include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to quarantine for 14 days if diagnosed or exposed to someone with the virus.
Yet, in Jefferson County, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW) had to endorse judicial intervention for four residents to get ankle-monitoring bracelets after they allegedly violated signed agreements to stay inside.
After patients are seen by a healthcare provider, a "Self-isolation/Self-quarantine and Controlled Movement Agreed Order" is signed. Included in the 10-part agreement obtained by ABC News, it states, "I acknowledge that if I cannot or will not comply with all of the control measures listed . . . LMPHW shall obtain a court order from Jefferson County Circuit Court to enforce the terms of the agreed order."
Over the last seven days, officials with LMPHW learned that patients were seen walking down the street, shopping or not answering the phone when a home check-in was made, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.
The GPS monitoring system -- normally given to people on parole, probation or who have posted bail for a pending criminal matter -- is meant to ensure that the patient remains in their home until the order expires. Failure to comply with the order may result in criminal charges.
The order does not specify who will pay for the tracking device.
In Jefferson County there are 241 positive COVID-19 cases and nine people had died as of Thursday, said Mayor Greg Fischer during his daily briefs on Facebook.
"If we stay home, we can and we will limit the spread of COVID-19. Stay home, stay home, stay home!" wrote Fischer.
The CDC says that "states have police power functions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their borders" and the laws can vary. "In most states, breaking a quarantine order is a criminal misdemeanor," according to the CDC.
In March, health officials have brought in law enforcement officials in New Hampshire and Missouri to try and enforce patients to abide by quarantine orders as COVID-19 can spread easily from person to person in close contact.
What to know about Coronavirus:
- How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
- What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
- Tracking the spread in the US and Worldwide: Coronavirus map
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