• Law enforcement officials put a Kentucky couple on house arrest in recent days after the wife, Elizabeth Linscott, tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
  • Her test results came with a self-quarantine order she was asked to sign. She refused because of a line in the order that required her to ask permission if she ever needed to leave her home on a vehicle like an ambulance.
  • That’s not the kind of thing she thought she could wait for permission for, she reasoned. Nevertheless, she and her husband were put in ankle monitors and placed on house arrest.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams pleaded with viewers during a Fox & Friends interview on Monday morning to wear face masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. “I’m begging you,” he said. “Please understand that we are not trying to take away your freedoms when we say, ‘Wear a face covering.’”

If you actually want to know what it looks like to lose a bit of freedom (specifically, the freedom of movement) during the pandemic, a better example than the fight over face masks can be found in Kentucky. That’s where everyone has been talking about the story of a couple who declined to sign a self-quarantine order after the wife, Elizabeth Linscott, tested positive for the coronavirus. The refusal to sign the quarantine order was over some of the wording that bothered the couple — but it led to the couple being promptly given ankle bracelets and put under house arrest.

This is the sentence on the form that gave the couple pause. It reads: “I will not travel by any public, commercial or health care conveyance such as ambulance, bus, taxi, airplane, train or boat without the prior approval of the Department of Public Health.” Elizabeth Linscott told a local news station that sentence is why she didn’t want to sign the document (even though she and her family still planned to self-quarantine).

“My part was if I have to go to the ER, if I have to go to the hospital, I’m not going to wait to get the approval to go,” Linscott told local NBC affiliate WAVE.

She’d gotten tested for the coronavirus in the first place as a precaution, because of an upcoming trip to Michigan to visit family. When she got her positive test result the next day, it came with an email from the local health department that included the self-quarantine order.

Among other things, that order required her to check in daily with the health department. Things escalated quickly after she pointed to the sentence about ambulance care by way of explaining her refusal to sign the order.

This past Thursday, Linscott’s husband Isaiah opened the front door of their home and was met by a phalanx of local officials. They reportedly placed the family in ankle monitors which will inform law enforcement officials if they venture more than 200 feet from their property.

“We didn’t rob a store,” Elizabeth Linscott told one reporter. “We didn’t steal something. We didn’t hit and run. We didn’t do anything wrong.”

The local health department has declined comment on this case thus far, citing privacy concerns. On her Instagram story Monday morning, Linscott posted images that included one with the following sentence: “I’d rather stand up for Truth and disappoint people, than hide it and disappoint God.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.