The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the Lake Cumberland region, with seven of the 10 counties considered to be at a critical stage of community spread.
Last month, Kentucky issued color-coded metrics ranging from green (less than 1 case per 100,000 on a seven-day rolling average), yellow (1-10), orange (10-25) and red (over 25).
As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, Adair, Clinton, Cumberland, Green, Russell, Taylor, and Wayne are classified as red. Pulaski, Casey, and McCreary counties are in the “orange-accelerated” range of community-spread.
Despite the surge districtwide, Pulaski County's cases do seem to be dropping with a current case rate of 10.55 per 100,000 as opposed of 14.29 per 100,000 population reported for the week ending October 10. For the week ending October 17, Pulaski reported 57 new cases, down from 64 the week prior.
Of the 56 active cases as of Wednesday, three are hospitalized and 53 are in self isolation as opposed to 75 active cases which had been reported locally as of October 11. There were no new deaths reported over the last week.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Pulaski County has seen 969 total cases and 12 deaths and 901 recoveries.
In the Lake Cumberland District Health Department's weekly YouTube update, Executive Director Shawn Crabtree noted that there are currently no nursing home outbreaks in the district. "As far as active cases, we have more community spread right now than we've ever had," he said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the district was reporting 76 new cases for the 10-county region.
"If our mortality rate [2.11%] holds and we continue to have over 50 new cases a day," Crabtree said, "that means we will have one person a day on average passing away and the hospitalization rate would be one in every 12 or 13 people each day."
The executive director also noted the rate of one death for every four hospitalizations.
"It doesn't have to be as bad as it is," Crabtree said, urging people to wear their masks and social distance. "It takes each of us taking that responsibility. I don't know how to make that happen in our area."
Acknowledging the controversy surrounding COVID-19 restrictions, Crabtree and other health officials answered several questions regarding compliance and the difference between a mandate and guidance.
In the matter of schools, Crabtree said, the authority to shut down currently lies with a school board unless there is an executive or court order. He added that public health laws passed in the 1960s or 1970s don't really address pandemic conditions when it comes to authority over businesses.
"Probably COVID will be over before all that gets worked through," he said.
Crabtree also announced that the media updates will also be dropping back from weekly to every two weeks. The next update is scheduled for November 4.