McCracken County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) held it’s bi-weekly COVID-19 meeting with city and county officials on Friday, June 26, 2020. Director Jerome Mansfield discussed the increase in coronavirus activity across the nation and reminded the community the importance of ‘practicing masking’ and social distancing.
He stated that it’s ‘very tempting’ to attend mass gatherings such as church activities, family reunions, and civic groups to chat with other members and be close, however, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Pending celebrations like 4th of July may cause reason to pause.
Dr. Brad Houseman, chief medical officer at Baptist Health Paducah was available at the Emergency Management meeting located in Paducah on Coleman Rd. via Zoom. He said, “The hospital hasn’t seen a significant increase in COVID cases. The two groups I look at with particular emphasis are our asymptomatic patients that we’re testing for procedures and also our ER volume.”
Dr. Houseman said that with the case volumes increasing across the country that he’s concerned. He went on to say it’s important to continue good hygiene, social distancing, and masking. Houseman said, “being considerate of others is the least we can do.”
Purchase District Health Department Director Kent Koster discussed the ‘reverse course’ states like Texas and Florida are having to initiate and his hope is that we don’t have to do the same here. As of Friday, Texas shutdown bars and Florida has banned alcohol sales at bars.
Koster discussed mortality rates in Kentucky and gave a patient profile. Mortality in Kentucky is 3.7% which is lower than the national average. Out of Kentucky’s 120 counties, 119 have reported COVID cases. Male’s represent 47.2 percent while female’s represent 51.8 percent of cases. The median age is 46.6 years. Within race, white people consist of 74.1 percent of positive cases with African Americans at 14.5 percent positive cases.
June 29, venues and event spaces will open in Kentucky at 50 percent capacity. This includes convention centers, music and concert halls, wedding venues, fairs, festivals, carnivals, all indoor and outdoor events. Koster said that in our community, he’s seeing a “great lack of wearing masks.”
Over a three day period last weekend, there were 18 confirmed cases in McCracken County. He said, “Most were related to travelling outside of the state of Kentucky.” Travelers that visited hotspots like Myrtle Beach were asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
There are testing sites available in our area that don’t require a doctor’s order. Kentucky Care clinics located throughout our area offer tests at no cost or insurance is billed without the patient needing to pay any unpaid balance. Locations are listed at arcare.net.
Koster discussed the increase in the number of contact tracers in western Kentucky. He said if you’re contacted by a tracer, that you won’t be given information on the person who tested positive for the virus. It’s confidential information.
Mayor of Paducah Brandi Harless encouraged social distancing and wearing masks. She said, “In order to keep our community thriving and humming” it’s important to follow CDC guidelines and those of local and state officials.
Paducah City Hall is now open for financial payments and fire permits. All other business is conducted through appointment only. The third round of small business grant checks will go out July 10. The goal to open playgrounds and splash pads is mid-July. And of course, the 4th of July celebration in Paducah.
Mayor Harless presented Carrigan Mosher with a Duchess of Paducah award for her help with making phone calls to residents every Tuesday and Thursday for eight weeks to check on them. Mosher works with the Kentucky Midtown Alliance of Neighbors.
Judge Executive Craig Clymer gave a short presentation regarding how to proceed when entering the McCracken County Courthouse and the election results that should be presented later in the day on June 29.