I-TEAM: Nurse charged for violating health orders after testing positive for COVID-19

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The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found a local nurse hit with criminal charges for leaving her home after testing positive for COVID-19, violating health orders to stay in isolation.

The charges have been filed in Euclid Municipal Court against Jeaneen Williams.

Court records show she worked at an area nursing home and tested positive for COVID-19. The Cuyahoga County Health Department says it issued an isolation order.

The health department says Williams then “broke her isolation” when she applied for a job. The records show she applied for a new job at two other nursing homes.

The I-TEAM reached her by phone and asked her about the charges that say, in effect, she put the community in danger.

Williams responded,  “And that’s why I feel devastated. How could I put the community in danger. I was put in danger. I work in a field taking care of people, and you don’t know who has what.”

Williams believes she got sick from a patient infected with COVID-19. She claims she stayed home and recovered before going out. Yet she faces two charges under a state law on the books for decades but making headlines now with the coronavirus spreading.

Williams added, “Then I wind up getting hit with criminal charges because you guys are saying I did not quarantine properly, when I did.”

Not clear how many people go out while under orders to stay in their homes. The state does not track this and neither does the Cuyahoga County Health Department. 

Just in Cuyahoga County since March, more than 17,000 people have been under quarantine or isolation orders because they’re infected with COVID 19, or they’ve been in close contact with someone sick.

Defense attorney Any Petropouleas said, “We’re concerned about any effect this will have on her nursing license.”

He is fighting the case, saying, “She quarantined in excess of the amount of time she was told to quarantine by the CDC. Certainly, she was trying to comply.”

If convicted, Williams only faces fines. But, she does worry about the impact of this on her career.

She said, “I had to fight for my life. Now, I have to fight for my freedom and to keep my license.”

The next court hearing has been set for late August.

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