Kentucky judges are imposing a style of house arrest for coronavirus patients that are breaking their self-isolation to try and stop the spread of the Wuhan virus.
Circuit judges have ordered two coronavirus patients and one patient’s relative to wear an ankle monitor in Louisville, Ky after they broke quarantine to get food.
States have to do better than this, forcibly confining someone because they needed to eat is unacceptable. We can’t let the virus erase our civil liberties. Officials need to be more creative than confining people.
According to court records, one patient who tested positive for the disease and went shopping on March 21st.
The coronavirus is considered a federal “quarantinable” communicable disease.
Under Kentucky law, the Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness has the authority to issue an “order of isolation,” which local law enforcement can enforce.
If the patient leaves their home or violates any of the conditions of the detention, they could be arrested or face charges.
Judge Charles Cunnigham ordered two relatives to wear ankle monitors on March 27, after a family member tested positive for the virus. The monitors are being used by law enforcement to make sure the family stays at home.
“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.”
“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.
“We can monitor activity … to make sure they’re not further affecting the community.”
It is understandable why the courts decided to place the victims of the coronavirus on ankle monitors but, this is America, Kentucky officials couldn’t have come up with a better solution? These people didn’t ask for the coronavirus, how are they supposed to get food?
We must protect people from the spread of the virus but, we also must protect our democracy. We can’t let this virus from China destroy our democracy, it’s taken enough already.