• 79°

Case of coronavirus confirmed in Clark County

Case of coronavirus confirmed in Clark County

A case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed in Clark County.

As of Sunday afternoon, there have been 20 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Kentucky. Among the newest cases is a 49-year-old man from Clark County. He has voluntarily isolated himself and is not at a hospital or other medical facility.

“He seems to be doing OK and is managing his symptoms,” Public Health Director Rebecca Kissick said Monday.

The Clark County Health Department issued a press release about the case Sunday.

“Health officials are working with the Kentucky Department for Public Health to identify and speak with all those who may have come in close contact with the person while they were contagious,” the press release states. “These people will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.”

Additional information about the person has not been provided because of medical privacy laws.

Kissick could not say whether there are family members or others who are also quarantined.

Clark County Judge-Executive Chris Pace has declared a countywide emergency, which allows the local government to recoup costs associated with the virus. Pace and Kissick joined Gov. Andy Beshear at a press conference Monday morning.

This is the first confirmed case in Clark County. The other cases are in Harrison, Fayette, Nelson, Montgomery and Jefferson counties. One person with a case in Harrison County has fully recovered.

The first death in Kentucky, a 66-year-old man from Bourbon County, was reported Monday morning by Beshear.

So far, there have been at least 3,487 confirmed cases in the U.S., with 68 of those resulting in death. Cases have been confirmed in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness first detected in China. Cases have now been confirmed in more than 100 other countries.

Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The illness has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Beshear declared a state of emergency in Kentucky when the first case was detected here earlier this month. President Donald Trump has also declared a national emergency because of the virus’ spread.

“Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people,” the CDC reports.

The virus is thought to spread person-to-person between people who are in close contact with each other (within about six feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, can be inhaled into the lungs or transferred when someone touches an infected surface and then touches their eyes, mouth or nose.

According to the CDC, “Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.”

Already numerous agencies in Clark County have responded to the outbreak of the virus. Many churches turned to online live-streamed services Sunday. The library and public schools are closed until at least April 6 to allow for sanitization and social distancing of students and families.

Beshear advised daycare and childcare facilities to be ready to close within 72-hour notice from his office earlier this week and ordered all senior centers to close last week.

The Clark County Detention Center and local nursing homes opted to cancel visitations last week as well.

Many locally-owned businesses have opted to close for several weeks because of the virus, and Beshear ordered all restaurants and bars to turn to drive-through or delivery-only services as of Monday.

Stores in the area, including the local grocery stores, have struggled to keep products on the shelves, particularly toilet paper, paper towels and canned, boxed and frozen foods as residents stockpile for a possible mandated quarantine. Walmart has announced it will only be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice and many local stores have started issuing limits on products. The Dollar General Store on Boone Avenue had signs up Sunday limiting customers to three of any like products.

Beshear has continued to stress the importance of social distancing and good hygiene practices in his regular press conferences. He has yet to make any indication of a mandated quarantine.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, so the CDC warns the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Steps to take include:

— Wash your hands frequently and at least for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

— If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

— Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

— Avoid close contact with people who are sick

— Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

— Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.

— Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.

— Throw used tissues in the trash

— Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

According to the Health Department, if you are ill, but would not have sought care if not for COVID-19, do not seek care at an ER, hospital or doctor’s office.  If you want advice, call the Kentucky state hotline or call your local healthcare provider.

Kentuckians can visit the state’s COVID-19 website at kycovid19.ky.gov or call the state’s hotline at 800-722-5725 for information about the illness and when to seek treatment.

Beshear will continue to have daily press conferences at 4 p.m., which can be watched on his Facebook page at facebook.com/GovAndyBeshear.

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

email author More by Whitney