EDITOR’S NOTE: The name of the person charged has been removed from this story after new information was made available that indicated the man has a diminished mental capacity.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A homeless man was arrested in Louisville after police said he repeatedly failed to self-quarantine following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
The 50-year-old individual was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon, according to an arrest report. Police said he tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, April 19.
The man is homeless, according to the arrest report, and, as a result of his positive diagnosis, the health department notified area homeless shelters that he was under quarantine. On Monday, April 20, however, police said he showed up at St. John's Center for Homeless Men, near the corner of East Muhammad Ali Boulevard and South Clay Street, in violation of the quarantine.
He was ultimately taken from St. John's to the Salvation Army Joy Center on Kenjoy Drive on April 20, due to "being off his medication, acting disorderly and needing to be quarantined," according to the arrest report. The following day, police said he was taken to U of L Hospital but was released sometime later.
Instead of going back to his quarantine, police said he returned to St. John's Center for Homeless Men, despite his knowledge of his positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
Someone from the shelter called MetroSafe, and the man was arrested at the shelter by officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department. He is charged with four counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
Police said his actions, "have put the victims at risk of death and serious physical injury to their bodies." The arrest report cites Kentucky Revised Statutes — specifically KRS 39A.180 — as authority for the arrest. The statute makes enforceable orders made by the governor for disaster and emergency response purposes.
"Under KRS 39A.180, law enforcement was given the authority to enforce the Ky. Governor's order to quarantine if a person tests positive for COVID-19," the arrest report says. "LMPD are responding under this order."
The arrest report goes on to say that he would continue his behavior unless he was taken into custody.
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