Officials said that a woman from Washington State who refused to take tuberculosis medication or isolate herself after a judge ordered it was arrested on Thursday. This was three months after a civil arrest warrant for a rare case was issued.
A spokesman from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that the woman, V.N. as identified in court documents, was arrested and booked into the “negative pressure” cell at the Pierce County Jail.
In a press release, Tacoma Pierce County Public Health Department stated that the room was specially equipped for testing, treatment and isolation.
Darren Moss Jr. is the sheriff’s spokesman. He said that V.N. V.N. will not be charged with any criminal offenses, but he has been ordered by the sheriff to stay in jail for a minimum of 45 days.
In an email, he wrote: “Depending on her condition she may leave earlier or stay longer.”
Moss refused to answer questions regarding the location or when Moss seized the woman.
In a statement, the health department stated that “we are hopeful” she will get the treatment to save her life.
V.N.’s attorney did not respond immediately to a comment request Thursday evening.
The judge Philip Sorenson first ordered V.N.’s involuntary confinement on Jan. 19,2022 after finding that the health officials made “reasonable attempts” to achieve voluntary compliance with public-health rules regarding tuberculosis. This is a deadly disease that can be spread by airborne transmission when those who have it cough and sneeze.
In February 2023, officials from the Department of Public Health said that they had visited Sorenson sixteen times to ask him to enforce his order to detain, and to issue a contempt-warrant, which was a measure described by the department as “a last resort.” On February 24, Sorenson issued the warrant.
In March, the authorities began to monitor V.N. In March, the warrant was executed “in a secure manner.”
V.N. Official said that she was seen leaving her house, boarding a city bus, and going to a casino in the area. The deputy did not take her into custody, and authorities declined to explain why.
On May 19, after V.N. Sorenson found V.N. in contempt after she failed to show up at the court hearing.
In the 1950s, the United States recorded nearly 100,000 tuberculosis cases per year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by 2021 that number was down to 7,882.
According to the local health department, Pierce County has around 20 active cases per year.