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Kentucky Department for Public Health Director Dr. Steven Stack and Hopkins County Health Department Director Denise Beach talk during Stack’s Friday visit to Madisonville.

The state’s top medical official made a stop in Madisonville Friday morning to discuss COVID-19 and the recent spike in positive cases in Hopkins County.

Dr. Steven Stack, director for the Kentucky Department for Public Health, met with Hopkins County Health Department Director Denise Beach and at the top of the list of topics was the coronavirus.

“It was a special treat to visit the Hopkins County Health Department today to see and hear firsthand the wonderful work they are doing to promote good health and support COVID-19 pandemic response efforts in Hopkins County,” Stack said. “Denise Beach and the entire crew are tremendous assets to the community and they do Kentucky proud.”

The health department reported 12 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and now has 156 active cases, said Beach. The health department is reporting 599 individuals as recovered and the death total remains at 38.

A “red” status means there are 25 or more COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people in the county. Orange is classified as 10-25 cases for every 100,000 people.

“We are concerned about the surge at the hospital and medical providers and want to assure they have the capacity to handle it,” said Beach. “This means more COVID-19 patients will be hospitalized and seeking medical care. Also, there will be an increase in quarantines related to this, which will affect businesses and families.”

Beach attributes the increase in cases to a multitude of factors, including travel, sports, hotels, long-term care facilities, restaurants and large gatherings. When a county is red it is recommended that school instruction be virtual and that sports be suspended, which led to cancellation of all school-related sporting events on Friday with the exception of the Madisonville North Hopkins girls’ golf team competing at the state tourney in Bowling Green.

“Wear your mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing,” said Beach, who also discouraged residents from traveling to areas with increased infection rates.

Beach also recommends everyone to get a flu shot.

The health department issued citations to several businesses due to employees not wearing masks, said Beach. These businesses included Food Giant in Dawson, Stop N Go, Sissy’s Cafe and Ideal Market in Earlington.

In follow up visits from the health department, the following businesses were reported as adhering to COVID-19 protocol when reinspected: Huddle House, Rural King, Ideal Market in Nortonville and Ideal on East Center Street in Madisonville.

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