Thursday was the warmest day of the year in Madisonville. But parents who took their children to city parks to enjoy the 80-degree sunshine might have been stunned and disappointed.
City crews wrapped playground equipment with yellow caution tape like they were crime scenes, in the latest step to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“The governor and the Department of Public Health have all said that these are areas that need to be roped off,” Mayor Kevin Cotton said during a Facebook Live briefing.
Madisonville North Hopkins High School basketball players still dreaming of a Sweet 16 tournament had to find another place to practice, as city courts were taped off and locked as well. And the Governor suggested they shouldn’t practice at all.
“If you’re on a basketball court, you’re spreading the coronavirus,” Gov. Andy Beshear said at a late-afternoon briefing.
Madisonville taped off city tennis courts and picnic tables Thursday as well.
“You can still use the trail,” Cotton said. But at Festus Claybon Park, where the basketball courts are part of the walking trail, exercisers will face a dead end turnaround for a while.
Cotton noted Madisonville’s city golf course remains open. They’re currently closed in Evansville.
White Plains went even farther Thursday, announcing on Facebook that its city parks would be closed completely.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hopkins County was unchanged Thursday night. Two people are hospitalized at Baptist Health Madisonville. Their names and conditions have not been revealed.
“We anticipate those numbers to climb,” Cotton said. “The testing is limited.” Cotton did not say how many tests were available locally.
Cotton said Health Department workers are trying to find “individuals who had contact with those positive cases for more than 20-30 minutes within the past two weeks.”
Those individuals will face a 14-day quarantine.
The number of confirmed cases across Kentucky jumped by 50 Thursday, the biggest one-day increase yet.
The total now stands at 248, with at least 4,016 people tested.
Five people have died statewide.
Cotton noted a lot of people are dealing with spring allergies. But he advised people who feel sick to stay home.
“Don’t be rude to people who may have a cough,” added Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield Jr.
In other new developments related to the coronavirus:
• Whitfield repeated an earlier statement that he has “zero plans for a curfew” across Hopkins County.
• Unacast reported as of Monday, Hopkins County drivers have reduced the amount of distance traveled by 31% since the outbreak began. The reduction for all of Kentucky is 35%.
• Hopkins County Circuit Court Clerk Tanya Bowman said all juror orientation panels for April have been postponed. Notices will be mailed about the new date.
• Earlington city officials asked residents to call City Hall if they have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 shutdowns.
• Whitfield advised lottery players, “You don’t need to go out just for a lottery ticket this week.” The jackpot for tonight’s Mega Millions drawing is $107 million, while it’s $160 million for Powerball on Saturday night.
• Madisonville Hopkins County Central Dispatch suggested people who feel distressed text “hello” to 741741 to speak with a crisis counselor.
The Muhlenberg County Health Department suggests calling the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association prayer line at 888-388-2683.