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Man with COVID-19 housed at Spokane County Jail after refusing to self-isolate

An order from Dr. Bob Lutz says the man "refused to cooperate with voluntary isolation instructions and presents a direct threat to the community."

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane County's health officer ordered that a man with coronavirus be sent to jail after he refused to self-isolate. 

The man was brought to the jail in downtown Spokane via ambulance on Wednesday after Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz issued a Civil Health Hold, county spokesperson Jared Webley said. 

According to the order issued by Lutz, the man "refused to cooperate with voluntary isolation instructions and presents a direct threat to the community." The order is vaild from July 1, 2020 to July 11, 2020. 

If the need arises for a longer forced quarantine, Lutz will need to petition for the courts for an order to be sent to the jail, according to Webley. 

The Spokane County Board of Commissioners and jail director Mike Sparber are distressed about this "forced action," and shared that sentiment with Lutz and hospital leadership where the man was previously held, Webley said.

Lutz and Sparber tried to find different options for housing the man, including corrections officers as guards at the hospital or sending him to a more appropriate isolation facility. 

Their efforts were not successful, Webley said, and they determined that the man would be housed under the medical care of the jail to protect the community. 

The Spokane Regional Health District and Detention Services will continue to work on finding a more appropriate facility for this individual, according to Webley. 

RELATED: No coronavirus cases among Spokane County inmates

Jail staff are following strict protocol already in place for COVID-19 precautions, and corrections officers are taking increased measure with personal protective equipment and sanitizing, Webley said. 

Lutz issued a similar order at the end of May, when a COVID-19-positive man who was arrested for two DUIs in five days refused to self-isolate.

The suspect, Mordecai Cochrane,  eventually turned himself in to the health district. Police had initially tried to find him after Lutz issued an “Emergency Involuntary Detention Order for Purposes of Isolation," but they were unsuccessful.  

RELATED: Man with coronavirus agrees to quarantine until Friday, Spokane police say