Kentucky Officials Force Isolation On Patient Who Refused Self-Quarantine After Contracting Coronavirus

Officials in Nelson Country, Kentucky has "forced an isolation" upon a coronavirus patient who checked himself out of the hospital and refused to self-quarantine. According to CNN, deputies will surround the man's house for two weeks, 24 hours a day, in their squad cars to ensure he stays put.

The patient is one of the first 20 confirmed cases in the state. Though the patient's decision to check out of the hospital went against medical advice, he is reportedly cooperating now, said Nelson County Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear spoke about the incident in a press conference on Saturday. He said that the state worked with county judges and other officials to ensure the forced isolation is put in place, according to The Kentucky Standard.

"It's a step I hoped I never had to take. But I can't allow one person who we know has this virus to refuse to protect their neighbors."
Beshear also added that state officials would take the appropriate steps needed to contain the spread of the virus, including taking steps to enforce isolation measures on any other patients that refuse to self-isolate after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts also spoke about the decision to enforce isolation on the patient, saying that he anticipates more cases of coronavirus in the area, partly due to the patient's refusal to self-isolate, according to CNN affiliate, WDRB.

"This is about us, not about 'I,'... So quarantine is a must."
The judge reinforced Beshear's point, saying that if needed, they will carry out more forced isolation on local residents who reuse to quarantine themselves.

Danger of Infection
Getty Images | Jane Barlow

Local sources told The Standard that the man had tested positive for the respiratory illness at a Louisville hospital. When he left the hospital on Friday, he gave the hospital staff an address in a different county, but officials were able to procure the correct address.

This isn't the only coronavirus news to come out of the state this week. On Tuesday, Churchill Downs posted a statement on their website saying that the beloved Kentucky Derby -- which was originally scheduled for May 2 -- would be postponed until September 5 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Because the event typically draws close to 150,000 spectators, having the event in May would go against the advice of medical professionals who have called for social distancing. Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen addressed the postponement, saying that the "safety and health" of their guests, employees, and the community at large was their top priority.