Judge orders isolation for TB patient
CHAMPAIGN — A local tuberculosis patient has been ordered to be confined to his home for 30 days, and now the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District will have some help keeping him there.
In an unusual court hearing Friday at the public health building in Champaign, county Associate Judge Chase Leonhard ordered home isolation for Christian Mbemba Ibanda, 24, of 100 Kenwood Road, C, after Ibanda failed to appear at the hearing.
Health District Administrator Julie Pryde said the order would be carried out the same day, as soon it could be put into writing, and delivered to Ibanda along with the electronic ankle bracelets he'll be wearing with GPS tracking.
If he tries to leave his home, she said, she and her staff will be notified and police will be summoned.
The hearing was called to hear a petition filed April 3 seeking an order of isolation for Ibanda as a non-compliant TB patient, whose refusal to stay in isolation has been posing a threat to public health and welfare.
An hour before the hearing, nearly 20 people — public health staff, police, the judge and court reporter, attorneys, and the media — were fitted with disposable respirator masks and instructed how to use them by local and state department of public health staff. Had Ibanda shown up for the hearing, everyone would have had to quickly put on their masks to prevent the possibility of TB infection.
Pryde said nurses brought Ibanda his medication just hours before the hearing and reminded him about it. And as the person who served him with the summons to the hearing, she adds, "I can assure you that I impressed upon him myself that he come here today and speak."
Ibanda was called during the hearing while everyone was waiting, and said he didn't have transportation to the public health building, according to Champaign County Assistant State's Attorney David DeThorne.
Pryde said Ibanda has a roommate with a car, and has been able to get other places.
"Clearly he doesn't respect the public health district's authority and now he doesn't respect the court's authority," she said.
In asking Leonhard for a default judgment, DeThorne said, "this is one of the reasons we brought the petition, his unwillingness to comply."