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Kentucky judges now putting defiant COVID-19 patients on house arrest

Metro Corrections officers are going into patients home to put GPS tracking systems on them and there are concerns they aren't protected.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some people in Louisville are being diagnosed with COVID-19 and then refusing to stay home, defying orders from doctors, city and state leaders. Now, judges are issuing court orders in attempt to hold them legally liable and Metro Corrections officers are being asked to distribute the GPS monitoring gear. 

On Monday, an officer was sent home after reporting to work with an increased temperature. That officer was in contact with one of the house-arrest COVID-19 patients last week. He is hoping to be tested for the virus this week.

Court documents obtained by WHAS11 FOCUS investigative team reveal Jefferson County citizens are being court ordered to stay at home.

One male patient, despite being positive for coronavirus went shopping March 21, according to court documents.

The coronavirus , which causes the disease COVID-19, is contagious and considered a federal "quarantinable" communicable disease.

Under state law, Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness has the authority to issue an "order of isolation." The order and evidence is presented to a circuit Judge who then signs or denies the order.

The sheriffs serve the order and Louisville Metro Department of Corrections Officers place a GPS monitoring device on the patient. If the patient leaves their home or violates the conditions of the detention they could be arrested or face charges.

There are concerns about officers who must come in contact with the patients to hold them accountable. 

FOP Lodge 77 spokesperson Tracy Dotson said, "We are more than capable of handling anything the city throws at us, but in order for us to be confident in doing that, we need to know that we're being taken care of as much as possible. We don't think it's too big of an ask to be tested and to do the proper equipment that we need to do this job and to do the ask that the city and the judges are asking us to do." 

Dotson said the officers who are serving the HIP equipment are not adequately protected while coming into direct contact with the patients. They are given a mask, goggles and chemical-resistant coverall suit. 

Credit: Tracy Dotson

But Dotson says that isn't enough. He wants the officers to be tested for COVID-19 after coming in contact with the infected patients. Right now, the officers are continuing to work their shift normally. 

"If there was an issue it could spread rapidly. There is no particular assignment or duo of officers are in charge of this one particular thing," he explained.

The officer now at home in self-isolation is hoping to be tested for COVID-19 sometime this week.

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►Contact reporter Shay McAlister at smcalister@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Shay) and Facebook.