As Novel Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) continues to spread in the commonwealth, I would like to thank everyone for doing their part with social distancing. Social distancing helps to flatten the curve of contagion so that medical facilities and staff are not overwhelmed and can appropriately handle the increased patient load, including the need for gloves, masks, respirators, isolation rooms and staff.

In addition, social distancing helps to protect our most susceptible senior adult population. Although COVID-19 has a 2-3% mortality rate in the population, it is much higher in the 60-plus group. In Hopkins County, schools are closed and all gatherings are discouraged. At this time, I ask that pastors suspend church services. The senior population appears to still be attending church.

Please help this group to make the best decision for themselves. Coronavirus will pass, but let us assure that we take care of the most vulnerable population in the best way that we can, which is social distancing. This is true for any group meetings.

Gov. Beshear has announced that all restaurants and bars were to close at 5 p.m. Monday to continue to improve upon social distancing. Please respect this policy and use take-out.

There is still no culture confirmed case of COVID-19 in Hopkins County, but we are preparing and planning for it. Please look to the Centers for Disease Control, or the Department of Public Health for guidance. Your local health department is in regular meetings with these groups, and this is the guidance that we will follow.

Do not share information that is false or from an unreliable source. If there is a case, I will inform the public. The people that are conveying positive results on the news for their county are Public Health Directors; we are required to inform the public.

If we have a case of COVID-19, the Health Department will do the investigation and surveillance of each case. We will contact anyone that has been a contact of the case. You do not have to contact the Health Department, we will contact you.

The Department of Public Health has a hotline number (800.722.5275) for concerned community members and questions. Please call this number for your questions. The Health Department will take calls from providers and there is a provider hotline. We need our phones open for these calls. We do not do testing for COVID-19 at the Health Department. If you meet case definition, this will be done at your provider’s office or the hospital. The Health Department works with the providers to identify the need to test and to follow up on the case.

Remember to keep at least 2-plus weeks of medications, food and supplies in case you are quarantined; however, you do not need to hoard these supplies.

The best defense is handwashing, social distancing, avoiding contact with your eyes, nose and mouth, and keeping updated from an appropriate source. We have an awesome community, and I appreciate the outpouring of support our Health Department and the medical community has received. The website to use is kycovid19.ky.gov.

Denise Beach, R.N., B.S.N., M.S., is the public health director of the Hopkins County Heal th Department

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