Monday, March 9, 2020

State Confirms Two More COVID-19 Cases Bringing Kentucky Total to Six

State officials confirmed two more cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), one in Fayette County and one in Harrison County, Monday night, bringing the total in Kentucky to six. Those patients confirmed on Monday are in isolation.

In Kentucky, the state has received results for 34 tests with 28 of those being negative.

As of 6:45 p.m. Monday, three people have tested positive from Harrison County, two from Fayette and one from Jefferson.

Tonight, Gov. Beshear also advised those 60 and older against flying and told them to avoid cruises.

Gov. Beshear declared a state of emergency Friday to ensure the state has all of the necessary resources to respond. The Governor issued an executive order to waive copays, deductibles, cost-sharing and diagnostic testing fees for private insurance and state employees. He is also telling providers to expand their networks to patients that may go outside their normal providers.

Beginning weeks before the virus was found in the Commonwealth, state and local officials collaborated to prepare for COVID-19 and are now working together to respond.

Kentuckians can visit kycovid19.ky.gov​ for updates and accurate information and cdc.gov/coronavirus for up-to-date information. Kentuckians who want advice can call the state hotline at 1.800.722.5725 or call their local health care provider. 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Leaders Brief Kentuckians on State’s Four COVID-19 Cases

State and local health officials updated Kentuckians on the state’s four cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and on the state’s ongoing response.

Beginning weeks before the virus was found in the Commonwealth, state and local officials collaborated to prepare for COVID-19 and are now working together to respond.

Key updates Monday:
  • Four individuals have tested positive and all are in isolation. 
  • One Jefferson County resident is being treated at Norton Brownsboro Hospital. 
  • The first Harrison County patient is being treated at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center and is improving.
  • The two patients from Harrison County are linked.
  • The Fayette County patient is a resident of Fayette County.
  • Only one patient has a travel history, which indicates the virus is spreading person-to-person and that is why good hygiene is critical.
  • State removing any impediments for Kentuckians on Medicaid to be tested and treated.
Gov. Beshear has issued executive order to waive copays, deductibles, cost-sharing and diagnostic testing fees for private insurance and state employees. The Governor is also telling providers to expand their network to patients that may go outside their normal providers.

An ongoing study by state and local epidemiologists has confirmed that the first individual confirmed with the virus is employed in Harrison County. Those who visited the individual’s place of employment, the Walmart located at 805 US-27 S, Cynthiana, Kentucky, 41031, or work there could be contacted by epidemiologists and should follow the guidance for those at risk. None of the patient’s co-workers have shown symptoms. There is no reason not to visit the Walmart.

New guidelines issued online to senior centers, nursing homes, long-term care centers and those who care for seniors to restrict visitation to better protect loved ones.

Dr. Steven Stack, state public health commissioner, provided updated advice to help Kentuckians know when they should go to the doctor. See below.

  • Guidance for those who feel sick
  • Worried, but well
  • Do not go to a hospital, ER or doctor’s office. If you are worried-well, going to a hospital or doctor’s office just further overwhelms medical staff and adds to a higher concentration of people. If you are worried-well stay home.
  • Feeling ill, but otherwise would not have sought out medical care
  • If you have a fever or cough and, if it were not for COVID-19, you would not have otherwise sought care, do not seek care at an ER, hospital or doctor’s office. If you want advice, call the state hotline (1.800.722.5725) or your local health care provider.
  • If you are sick and feel you have an emergency
  • Call your doctor or seek medical care. The hospitals across the state stand ready to serve.
Directions for those at higher risk
Kentuckians should take extra steps to prevent the spread of the virus. Officials recommend extra precautions including avoiding large crowds for those at higher risk, including those over 60 and Kentuckians with chronic health conditions including heart, lung or kidney disease. The additional CDC precautions, like social distancing and other key resources are available online.

Schools
Until more is known from the state’s current epidemiological investigations, closing schools and public gatherings is not recommended with only four positive cases. However, individual school systems such as Harrison County can make their own decisions about school closures. Harrison County schools have announced they would close beginning today through at least March 13.

Senior care centers
Those who are sick are asked not to visit nursing homes and not to go in to work. Harrison County nursing homes are no longer accepting visitors and new guidelines were issued online to senior centers, nursing homes, long-term care centers and those who are caring for seniors to restrict visitation to better protect loved ones.

Business
At this time, local businesses do not need to close, but Gov. Beshear has encouraged businesses to implement polices so sick employees do not feel like they have to go to work when they are sick.

State and local response efforts
State officials confirmed the first case on Friday and declared a state of emergency to ensure the state had all necessary resources to respond. The State Health Operations Center is activated at level one – fully activated – and the State Emergency Operations Center is also activated.

Dr. Stack reminded Kentuckians to visit kycovid19.ky.gov, where the state provides updates multiple times a day, in order to make sure everyone has accurate information and the same information.

Gov. Beshar also already issued an executive order to prohibit price gouging. He is asking Attorney General Daniel Cameron to enforce the price-gouging laws. If Kentuckians have information regarding possible price gouging, contact the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection hotline at 888-432-9257.

Testing Update
As of Monday morning, the state has received results for 21 tests with 17 of those being negative.

Gov. Beshear and Dr. Stack said the state would have all of the tests needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also made all of the kits Kentucky needs available and commercial labs have started testing. The state lab in Frankfort has been conducting COVID-19 testing since Monday, March 2. The Department for Public Health has the ability to process results in a timely manner. Specimens received at the lab by noon each day will be resulted on the same day. Specimens received after noon will be resulted the following day. Currently, Kentuckians can seek testing by consulting with their health care provider.

Due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus throughout the world and in the United States, additional cases are expected in Kentucky.

Sick Leave Policy
Gov. Beshear has announced state government is adjusting its sick leave policy to ensure state employees who are sick can stay home – even for new employees who have not yet accrued leave time. He said the state would make sure those who are sick can stay home and will be covered.

Preventing Virus Spreading
All of the officials urged Kentuckians not to panic, but to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their families. Gov. Beshear said this year we have had more than 19,000 cases of the flu and we only have four confirmed cases of COVID-19. As with any virus, especially during the flu season, there are a number of steps Kentuckians should take to protect their health, including:

  • Get a flu shot from your Local Health Department or your family provider.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Click here to watch videos on proper handwashing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then properly dispose of it.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
More information
Kentuckians can visit kycovid19.ky.gov and cdc.gov/coronavirus for up-to-date information.
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