Those who are not taking COVID orders seriously are receiving criminal charges.
Police are taking COVID quarantine and stay at home orders seriously, and citations are being issued for those now following recommended guidelines. Nursing homes and homeless shelters have been hit hard nationwide by the virus and are adamant about refusing visitations from family members and quarantining individuals who have tested positive. This is necessary to slow the spread of the deadly virus, save lives and, eventually, eliminate it altogether.
However, not everyone is complying. Metro Nashville Police recently charged Randle Kirkley, who was under COVID quarantine, with escape after he left a shelter at the Nashville Fairgrounds. Kirkley left the facility for the area’s homeless after testing positive for COVID-19. He was informed by the Metro Nashville Health Department he would not be able to leave the until he was healthy and cleared, and his decision to do so was in direct violation to these orders, according to officials. Kirkley reportedly jumped a fence, leaving the premises and prompting police to arrest him two miles away.
Cities and states across the U.S. are handling these situations in much the same way. In Hurricane, Utah, for instance Police Chief Lynn Excell warned residents that any individual who has been ordered to quarantine and violates this order will be facing criminal charges. Detroit police have also stayed busy issuing citations to those insisting on continuing to gather during Michigan’s stay at home mandate.
“Nobody is immune to this virus,” Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “It doesn’t discriminate based on county lines, partisan lines, age, or socioeconomic status. One person who carries it can infect forty people, who then can infect thousands more…These unprecedented times demand unprecedented grit. We will get through this together. Do your part. Stay home, stay safe.”
“For the small percentage of people who continue to cluster, the neighbors are calling on them and the cops are showing up in a hurry,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan warned.
Sonoma County, California’s newest order specifically states, “All household members, intimate partners, caregivers of a person with COVID-19, and those contacted by the disease control program as having been exposed to a person with COVID-19 must quarantine themselves. These persons are required to follow all instructions in this Order and the Public Health guidance documents referenced in this Order. Violation of this Order is a crime, punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both.”
Jud Brewer, M.D., Ph.D. is a neuroscientist, addiction psychiatrist and the director of research and innovations at the Mindfulness Center of Brown University, said there are many reasons for people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, like Kirkley, to feel the need to violate quarantine. He explained, “Some people are trying to retain a feeling of control by ignoring or defying stay-at-home orders. Other people are oppositional in nature and routinely defy authority. Many more are in denial, especially if they aren’t in hardest-hit areas, aren’t in high-risk groups and/or don’t know anyone with the virus.” Brewer added, “Panic can lead to behaviors that are dangerous. Anxiety is both acutely mentally and physically weakening and a slow burn that has more long-term health consequences.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that COVID-19 is spread mainly from person-to-person when people maintain close contact with one another, standing less than six feet apart, and through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. “These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs,” the CDC explains. Thus, it is important for law enforcement officials to be especially strict about ensuring everyone follows the government’s guidelines.