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GRDHD reports COVID-19 death in Ohio County, Johnston updates fiscal court

In Local, News by OC Monitor Staff

OWENSBORO, Ky. — Ohio County has suffered the loss of another resident to COVID-10, according to today’s update from the Green River District Health Department. Ohio County also added a new confirmed case to its total.

Today’s death brings Ohio County’s total COVID-19 deaths to six, just one death less than Daviess County has had during the pandemic. Ohio County had no COVID-19 related deaths just over two weeks ago.

Ohio County’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 344 with 287 of those patients having recovered. This leaves Ohio County with 57 active confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of those active cases, eight patients are hospitalized and 25 Ohio Countians have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

In addition to Ohio County, the GRDHD reported 16 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases, 11 in Daviess County, four in Henderson County and 1 in Webster County. The total number of reported COVID-19 cases in the district is 1,500.

Thirty reported confirmed cases are currently hospitalized. Of the 1,500 confirmed cases in the district, 138 (9 percent) have required hospitalization. The district-wide total of recovered cases is now 1,229 (82 percent). The state of Kentucky is currently reporting 28,126 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 719 statewide deaths.

“It is more important now than ever that you use good judgment and follow our recommendations to protect yourself and your family. The virus is still out there. Practice the three “W’s”: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance,” said Clay Horton, GRDHD Public Health Director. “We encourage anyone who has been in crowds, had close contact with people in public, or traveled recently to get tested.”

At last night’s Ohio County Fiscal Court meeting, Ohio County Judge-Executive David Johnston updated the other court members on damage COVID-19 has done to the county, and more specifically, the toll it has taken on Signature Healthcare in Hartford. (This update was given before today’s report from the GRDHD.)

According to Johnston, 33 residents and 28 staff members of Signature Healthcare have been infected by the disease.

“The employees are all getting (better). There’s been nobody to get real, real sick out of the employees,” Johnston said. “Unfortunately we’ve had five residents die. Which is very, very upsetting to me. It’s just very, very sad.”

Of those with the COVID-19 at Signature Healthcare, only five of the 33 patients have recovered, while many of the staff have recovered.

“The healthcare workers are recovering quickly, but the residents are not,” Johnston told the court. “Some of the residents are very, very sick.”

Second District Magistrate Jason Bullock asked Johnston how the rest of the county was doing, outside of Perdue Farms and Signature Healthcare, which both had a large number of cases centralized to those places of business.

“Our numbers are still high. We had 10 new cases (yesterday). We’re not doing well at all,” Johnston told Bullock. “For example, Daviess County, who is much larger than us, has 647 cases and we have way over half of theirs at 343. The (COVID-19) death rate, we’ve had five and (Daviess County) only had seven at much bigger they are than we. Nobody else (in the district) is close to our two counties. We’re the hotspot.”

Fourth District Magistrate Larry Keown added that in Fordsville, he hadn’t heard of anyone contracting COVID-19 early in the pandemic, but now Fordsville has seven or eight cases.

“I support (Governor Andy Beshear’s) mask mandate and I’ve got some static on it from people,” Johnston said. “I support the mask mandate 100 percent. I think the Governor is doing everything that he thinks is right, I truly do. I think in most cases I agree with him.”

Johnston did say he disagreed with decreasing capacity in restaurants to 25 percent, but there was nothing he could do about it. 

“We’re not in a good place. We’re the hot spot of the state right now and that’s just something we don’t want to be. I encourage all of you to preach good practices,” Johnston told the fiscal court members. “It’s bad, it’s real and I don’t want anybody to think that this is something that’s made up or exaggerated the significance of it because we’ve got people sick and dying.”

COVID-19 Testing

The health department is offering free COVID-19 testing. To schedule an appointment visit the GRDHD website, https://healthdepartment.org, and follow the COVID-19 Test prompts. You must be pre-registered to be tested.

Demographics

The cases being reported from the Green River District Health Department have been investigated and confirmed locally. These cases are then reported to the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

Additional demographic information includes*

Average age: 43

Age range: 7 months old – 95

Male – 49.6 percent

Female – 50.4 percent

COVID-19 Guidance

The health department wants to reinforce this guidance with the community:

  • Stay home, avoid crowds and social distance.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick (fever, cough, sneeze, and difficulty breathing).
  • To avoid close contact, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Wear a cloth face cover when you have to go out in public.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • To avoid coughing into your hands, you can cough into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

If you are sick, experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including but not limited to a fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or feel you have a medical emergency, call your health care provider. Adults over 60 and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Those people should be extra vigilant and stay home. To help answer the community’s questions about COVID-19, the Kentucky Department for Public health has set up a website with the latest guidance and information for Kentucky residents – www.kycovid19.ky.gov. The public can also call the Kentucky COVID-19 hotline at 800-722- 5725.

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