After refusing isolation and treatment for more than a year, a woman in Tacoma, Washington, diagnosed with tuberculosis, will be arrested this week, according to authorities.

Earlier this month, Medical Daily reported on the unnamed woman who refused treatment for her condition and ignored multiple court orders to stay in isolation. At the time, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) said it was monitoring the case to find out if the woman willfully violated court orders and put other people at risk by going around with an active infection.

“Most people we contact are happy to get the treatment they need. Occasionally, people refuse treatment and isolation. When that happens, we take steps to help keep the community safe,” Communicable Disease Control Division director Nigel Turner previously said.

The first court order for the woman to follow involuntary isolation was released on Jan. 19, 2022. Local officials admitted that it’s been a long-standing challenge to make her follow the court orders.

Last Friday, the TPCHD went to Judge Philip Sorenson for the 16th attempt to finally get the woman to comply with a court order. The order will require the TB patient to either voluntarily isolate herself or resume taking her medication, KOMO News reported.

The woman started treatment when she received one of the previous orders from the court. However, she left before treatment was complete. Hence, she remains a public health risk.

Judge Sorenson issued a civil warrant for the woman’s arrest. The TPCHD said she would be arrested on Friday unless she voluntarily complied. The health department clarified that she would be taken to a facility at the Pierce County Jail for isolation, testing and treatment.

Should she comply before Friday, the TPCHD may ask the court to lift the arrest warrant. A court hearing on the case was scheduled for Thursday.

Pierce County records around 20 active cases of TB each year on average. The woman’s case is considered rare since most patients voluntarily seek treatment or isolation with the help of public health officials.

Speaking on the woman’s possible arrest for ditching court orders to seek treatment or isolation, Bryan Suits, the host of “The Bryan Suits Show,” said this is more than an issue of freedom anymore.

“People can agitate and stomp around about your civil rights and the whole thing, but the bottom line is, we as a civilization decided a long time ago there is no freedom to walk around with an infectious disease and possibly spread it to others,” Suits explained, as quoted by KTTH.

“I’m saying is for those of you like me on the freedom side of the aisle, you have to admit that you don’t have the freedom, you know, to throw highway flares in my yard or something, you don’t have the freedom to walk around Tacoma with TB,” he added.

Based on the guidelines for the treatment of TB infection issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the entire treatment process for the bacterial disease can take three to nine months. Not completing the treatment can lead to antibiotic resistance.

TB is usually confirmed by an X-ray of the lungs after a positive skin test in Americans. People who are vaccinated in other parts of the world always test positive by skin test. Reuters