McCracken County’s COVID-19 case total nears 90, heading into the Memorial Day weekend.
In a news release, Purchase District Health Department announced two additional COVID-19 cases in McCracken County on Friday. One case was identified as a 35-year-old man, while a second person’s information is pending, according to the department.
The new cases make it 89 total for McCracken County, as of late Friday afternoon, and there have been 67 recoveries so far and two deaths.
“I’m very happy that our numbers aren’t any more than what they are,” Kent Koster, health department director, told The Sun.
“It’s great. I think everybody’s done a really good job in trying to, for the most part, practice social distancing, washing their hands and trying to keep the spread of the virus down.”
As Kentucky communities reopen economies through the state’s Healthy at Work guidelines, residents are encouraged to keep practicing social distancing, hand washing and to wear facial coverings in public places. This week saw reopenings for government offices/agencies, retail, restaurants and funeral and memorial services. People also may gather in groups of 10 or fewer.
In his COVID-19 briefing Friday, Gov. Andy Beshear referred to this weekend as “big.”
“It’s about being able to do more things than we have in a while and to make sure we do them responsibly,” Beshear said.
“So much of how this recovery goes, how we’re able to be Healthy at Work, how we’re able to keep our cases down — depends on how we’re able to do this weekend and every weekend thereafter. So, I have faith in the people of Kentucky. I know you’re going to follow the Healthy at Work rules and all of the other rules that are out there.”
Meanwhile, Koster described Memorial Day weekend as kind of a “double whammy,” noting it comes with restaurants reopening and a holiday. He expects the holiday to bring more friends and families together for different social activities. It could potentially increase case numbers.
“I can only imagine how many people have been waiting to get back to a restaurant whether they eat inside or outside,” he said. “I’m just hoping all the restaurants do adhere to (guidelines) and have 33% occupancy inside and then it’s unlimited outside, but they need to practice social distancing.”
Koster reiterated the need for social distancing, wearing masks if you can and to limit social gatherings to what state guidelines are, in order to help reduce spread of the coronavirus.
“One of the things that’s getting ready to occur, that’s going to be helpful, is we are receiving regionally a team of individuals that will assist us in contact tracing,” he added.
“They’re supposed to come on board May 28 and they’ll be in like a week-long training, and then after that, they’ll be very actively doing contact tracing here in far western Kentucky. We’ve been doing that. We’ve doing a really good job of it, but with the additional resources, we’ll be able to do a better job.”
Contact tracing is a part of limiting the coronavirus’ spread. The team is expected to have eight people, who will join area health department employees already doing contact tracing.
In Friday’s release, the health department also provided numbers for Ballard, Carlisle, Hickman and Fulton counties, including a new case in Fulton. The case was described as a 48-year-old woman.
Ballard, Carlisle, Hickman and Fulton counties have nine, five, five and three cases, respectively. There have been eight recoveries in Ballard, two recoveries and one death in Carlisle and four recoveries in Hickman.
The Graves County Health Department announced five new cases Friday. The total is 156 cases for Graves County, as of Friday afternoon. Four were described to be at home in isolation, while a resident in her 80s is isolated at the hospital.
The Marshall County Health Department reported no new cases Friday via social media. Its total remained at 35 cases with 32 recovered and one active case. Two deaths have been reported.
As for the state, Beshear reported 141 new COVID-19 cases in Kentucky on Friday. There have been at least 8,426 cases (121 probable) with at least 3,069 recovered and more than 171,338 tested. He also reported five new COVID-19 related deaths, raising the toll to 391.
“We now think that we have not only plateaued, but are in a decline on overall number of cases, especially when you look at the amount of testing that we’re doing. And that is really good news,” Beshear said. “It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, but it’s really good news. It’s a place that I’m happy where we’re at.”