No longer a plateau: Kentucky over 20,000 cases

By Jeff Neagle and Drew Bergman

As the number of cases of coronavirus continue to rise across the country, Adair County can count itself among those towns showing a significant increase over the past few days. At press time, the county had 34 confirmed cases with one hospitalization and the other 33 are self-isolated.

The positive tests have been seen in all age groups. On Monday, seven new cases were announced for Adair including a 4-year-old, an 11-year-old, and two 17-year-olds.

This week has also seen the first of positive cases in a local government agency. Mayor Pamela Hoots confirmed Tuesday that city employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We do have four positive cases at this time with the City of Columbia,” said Mayor Hoots. “They are all at home in isolation. We have been working over the past few weeks cross-training staff so that if this did occur, we would have people who can cover for those who are out. There should not be any disruption of services for anyone.”

While services won’t be disrupted, there will be changes at City Hall. As of Wednesday, customers must make an appointment to City Hall. “All departments continue to work using social distancing and other preventive measures. Anyone who makes an appointment to come to City Hall will be required to wear a mask. The sanitation department requests all garbage be placed out the night before pickup. We will continue to take payments for gas by telephone, mail, online, or at our drop-off box in the back of the building.”

These changes are being made due to the ever increasing number of positive cases in the community. Mayor Hoots said she feels the city should do its part to help keep the citizens safe during this time.

With cases increasing at a high rate, the Lake Cumberland District Health Department said on Monday, “We implore, we plead for everyone to wear a mask when out in public, to avoid crowds, to social distance, to wash their hands with soap and water often and thoroughly, to stay home if they have a fever or are coughing, to increase sanitation, and to avoid touching their faces. We’re watching our staff kill themselves to try to help the public, many of whom seem unwilling to help themselves.”

Wednesday afternoon the Kentucky Music Educators Association’s Executive Director, Dr. John Stroube announced through the Kentucky Band Website’s Facebook page that: “The KMEA Marching The KMEA Marching Band Committee has recommended that KMEA not proceed with plans for the 2020 KMEA State Marching Band Championship. This includes Regionals and Semifinals. KMEA leadership will consider and act on this recommendation in short order. Status of local contests is a local call. More information will follow as it becomes available.”

July 8, 2020 (17,919 cases; 4,912 recoveries; 608 deaths): “The rising case numbers are cause for concern, so tomorrow we’re going to announce some new requirements that are going to be mandatory,” the governor said in his regular press conference. “Given what we are seeing across the country with exploding numbers in certain places, my commitment is to make sure that doesn’t happen here, but I can’t do it alone.”

July 9, 2020 (18,245 cases; 4,939 recoveries; 612 deaths): Governor Andy Beshear announced that people in Kentucky must wear masks or other face coverings. 23 other states have implemented a masking order of some kind: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Governor Beshear’s executive order requires Kentuckians to wear face coverings under some circumstances for the next 30 days. Those circumstances include:

“While inside, or waiting in line to enter, any: retail establishment; grocery store; pharmacy; hair salon/barbershop; nail salon/spa; tattoo parlor; child care facility; restaurant or bar (when not seated and consuming food or beverage); health care setting, or; any other indoor public space in which it is difficult to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from all individuals who are not members of that person’s household;

“While waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit, or while riding in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle, or driving any of the above while customers are present; or

“While in outdoor public spaces in which the person cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet from all individuals who are not members of the person’s household and is not otherwise covered by previously issued guidance.”

Exceptions are allowed for children under five, persons with a disability or mental or physical impairment that would prevent them from wearing a covering. The governor was supported by the CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the president of Teamsters 783, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton, Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon and others.

Kentucky hospital beds are currently at 60 percent of their capacity.

July 10, 2020 (18,670 cases; 5,258 recoveries; 620 deaths): Governor Beshear reiterated the need for Kentucky to follow public health guidelines in the face of recent outbreaks at childcare centers across the nation, including in Texas where part of their ongoing spike came from incidents where childcare centers were hubs of infection. Governor Beshear once again extended his executive order from March 10 allowing pharmacists to continue dispensing 30-day refills on prescriptions. The order now extends to August 6.

July 11, 2020 (19,121 cases; 5,258 recoveries; 622 deaths): “This is another day where it shows that we are no longer in a plateau, but cases are increasing. We must act now,” Governor Beshear said.

July 12, 2020 (19,389 cases; »5,300 recoveries; 625 deaths): The governor noted that when comparing the number of reported cases a week ago against the number of reported cases of the last seven days, there is a 48.7 percent increase in positive cases over that time.

July 13, 2020 (19,653 cases; 5,344 recoveries; 629 deaths): Though the number of Kentucky cases is not increasing as rapidly as states whose medical facilities are being overwhelmed, there are many areas of the Commonwealth whose increases in positivity are troubling. Bell, Carroll, Graves and Shelby counties all showed heavy growth in the number of their positive cases from the past week. “There are multiple states now rolling back their reopening,” Governor Beshear said. “I don’t want that to be us.”

July 14, 2020 (20,223 cases; 5,389 recoveries; 635 deaths): At his Tuesday press conference Governor Beshear said: “Today’s report shows we are certainly in a time of escalating cases. And our actions over these next 10 days to 14 days, really through the next 30 days that we have put this face covering requirement out, are going to determine if we continue to be a leader, if we continue to be one of the best states in the country, or if we go the route of Arizona, which is now requesting giant freezer trucks because their morgues are being overrun.”

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