In their weekly YouTube livestreamed update on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Lake Cumberland District Health Department's (LCDHD) executive team confirmed that the total number of cases has risen to 25 across seven counties.
"We've seen an uptick in cases confirmed just in the last few days," LCDHD Preparedness Manager Amy Tomlinson said. "I think that's just a testament that testing is being done, and we're starting to get those lab reports back. These aren't necessarily people who have just gotten sick in the last day or two; these are people who may have been sick and were waiting on test results."
Pulaski County continues to lead those numbers with 14 total cases. Of those, three individuals are currently hospitalized, six are in self-isolation and five have been released from self-isolation.
McCreary County's single case has also been released from self-isolation. The other counts are as follows, with most self-isolated at home: four in Wayne (three hospitalized), two each in Adair and Taylor (one hospitalized in Taylor), and one each in Cumberland and Russell counties. No confirmed cases had been reported as of Wednesday afternoon in Casey, Clinton and Green counties.
To be cleared from self-isolation, according to LCDHD Nursing Director Laura Woodrum, the patient must be fever-free for three days and be seven days from the onset of symptoms.
Tomlinson noted that health officials expect the numbers will continue to rise. Statewide, Governor Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that the number of positive COVID-19 cases had risen by 93 to 680 with a total of 20 deaths.
Following the preventive guidelines as issued by the state and local health departments is crucial to slowing the virus' spread, Tomlinson said. Those include:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick with a fever, coughing, sneezing, and having difficulty breathing.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Practice social distancing of at least 6 feet from others in public.
• Implement environmental surface cleaning measures in homes, businesses, and other locations. Wipe down frequently touched surfaces and objects. Use regular household cleaning spray or wipes as recommended by the CDC.
"We have to treat this like the virus is in our communities at this point," Tomlinson said. "It's here, so we need to be taking every possible precaution."
Meanwhile, state health officials are still working on testing protocols and increasing the number of available hospital beds. According to Gov. Beshear, there are currently 18,500 hospital beds, 1,300 ICU beds and 1,352 ventilators in Kentucky.