"We can’t allow one person we know who has this virus to refuse to protect their neighbors," said the Kentucky governor

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 16, 2020 11:08 AM
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One man who refused to follow quarantine orders despite his coronavirus diagnosis is now under guard as he’s forced to stay indoors, multiple outlets report.

In a press conference on Saturday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear updated citizens on the importance of social distancing to prevent further spread of COVID-19. A resident of Nelson County initially refused to self-quarantine, prompting local authorities to enforce the isolation measures by standing guard and keeping the unidentified man in his home.

“It’s a step I hoped I never had to take, but we can’t allow one person we know who has this virus to refuse to protect their neighbors,” said Beshear, according to the Associated Press.

According to the Lexington Herald Leader, a law enforcement officer is on watch outside the 53-year-old’s residence. A local judge had to declare a state of emergency, according to the newspaper, in order to enforce the action.

Added Beshear: “We’ve got to make sure that people who have tested positive, that we know could be spreading the virus, and simply refuse to do the right thing, do the right thing.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on March 13
| Credit: Bruce Schreiner/AP/Shutterstock

Beshear encouraged Kentuckians to look out for one another as people are urged to practice social distancing and avoid potentially spreading the virus in public. According to the state’s official website, as of March 15 there are 21 confirmed cases in Kentucky.

“Fear can cause more harm than this virus ever will. I am asking everyone to be a good neighbor,” he said. “We take care of each other in this state.”

Added Beshear: “We are asking people to make major sacrifices in this state.”

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On the state level, more and more governments are initiating orders to limit large public gatherings. As of March 15, Ohio, Illinois, California and Massachusetts issued orders and recommendations to close certain gathering places in an effort to encourage social distancing and combat the spread of the virus.

In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine made the announcement on Twitter, writing, “We will be issuing an order closing all bars and restaurants in #Ohio beginning at 9:00 tonight. Establishments can stay open for carry-out and delivery. What we can’t have is people congregating and seated.”

As of March 16, there have been at least 3,602 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 66 deaths in the United States, according to a New York Times database. Those most at risk are people over the age of 60, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.