As of Monday, 25 people in Kentucky tested positive for COVID-19 and while 24 voluntarily cooperated to self-quarantine, one unnamed 53-year-old man refused to follow medical advice, The Washington Post reported. After checking himself out of a University of Louisville hospital against doctors’ advice, the man told the local health department he would not follow an order to isolate himself from others. As a result, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office stationed deputies outside the man’s home over the weekend to enforce a quarantine and ensure he does not spread the virus to others.
The county judge-executive had to declare a state of emergency in order to invoke a statute that allowed him to force a “self-isolation or quarantine,” 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,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press conference on Saturday. “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 added. The state government has closed religious institutions, schools, and limited the number of visitors to nursing homes and jails to curb the spread of the virus.
While the man supposedly later agreed to stay in his home, Nelson County Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa told the Kentucky Standard that officers will stay outside the man’s home for 24 hours a day for a period of two weeks. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kentucky law gives the Cabinet for Health and Family Services the power to declare and enforce quarantine, CNN reported.”This is about us, not about ‘I,'” Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts told CNN affiliate WDRB. “So quarantine is a must. If we have to, we’ll do it by force.”
Despite consistent warnings and advisories from health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many individuals continue to attend large gatherings and travel. While the virus cannot be stopped from spreading, the process of transmission can be slowed down through social distancing. The fewer people that interact with one another, the less likely the virus is to spread, according to The Washington Post. State government officials are enforcing curfews and regulations on gatherings throughout the country to ensure people do not unintentionally spread the virus. On Monday, Donald Trump advised everyone in the country to avoid groups of 10 or more and stay away from bars and restaurants.
Enforcing these regulations seems to be the only way to ensure residents fully follow social distancing guidelines. This past weekend, people continued to “party” nationwide, ignoring calls to social distance. “My obligation is to keep people safe during this time. I realize many of the steps I am taking to protect Kentuckians during this COVID-19 emergency are affecting employers and workers financially. Temporarily waiving some of the UI benefit rules during this time is one step I can do to help protect Kentuckians financially. I know this is a difficult time but we are going to get through this by working together to help each other,” Gov. Beshear said.
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