FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has confirmed Kentucky’s first case of coronavirus and declared a state of emergency to get federal funding.
Beshear stressed it is one “isolated case” that “was expected.” He stressed for Kentuckians not to panic.
“We were ready for this and we will get through this together,” Beshear said, noting the case is in Lexington and the patient has been isolated and all proper precautions are being taken. The state still is in the process of confirming all the details about the patient’s travels and contacts.
“Fear can be difficult, but there is no cause for fear at this time. We will continue to communicate. Wew expected this first confirmed case,” said Beshear, who had hinted Thursday that the state was close to confirming a case.
The state has had more than 100 people request self-quarantines and of those, 88 have been cleared, the governor said during a press conference late Friday afternoon. He noted earlier Friday that 10 people had been formally tested and seven cleared with results still out on the remaining three. One of those came back late Friday afternoon as positive, prompting the governor’s press conference.
The governor said he planned to meet with the state Attorney General to activate the state’s anti-price-gouging law that prevents businesses from taking advantage of consumers,” Beshear stated.
“There is no reason to believe this will be worse than the flu, no reason at all,” the governor stated.
He also said he would use every resource if it becomes necessary, including asking the Legislature for funding if needed and even calling out the National Guard if circumstances became so dire. But he repeatedly warned against such talks.
“We are prepared to do everything necessary, but we can’t stress enough calm,” he stated. “We believe our health departments are prepared for what we are about to be going through.
“It’s OK to be concerned but remain calm. Pay attention and take all the precautions. It’s going to take all of us to remain calm and be prepared.”
Meanwhile, a patient in Marion County has become Indiana’s first case of coronavirus, Gov. Eric Holcomb and the state Department of Health announced Friday.
And locally, the Fayette County School District sent notices to parents and staff Friday, including a reminder for parents to discuss the disease with children, including the fact it is not socially based.
Jay Blanton, UK spokesman released this statement:
“We can confirm that we have a patient that has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 currently in isolation at UK Chandler Hospital. Our health care team has taken every precaution and followed the appropriate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols to prevent exposure to other patients and caregivers. UK HealthCare is a nationally regarded academic medical center that is especially equipped to handle these types of illnesses. In keeping with our policies regarding privacy, no specific information about the patient is available at this time. We can confirm that the patient is not a member of the UK community.”
The Fayette County School District sent notices to parents and staff Friday reminding them of the basic steps to avoid the disease and other tips:
- Wash hands frequently 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 available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- 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.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
“As we look ahead to spring break later this month, please be aware that federal officials suggest anyone considering international travel should monitor travel advisories due to the outbreak of COVID-19,” the school distract wrote.
“Our district is monitoring board-approved staff and student travel and curtailing trips to areas of elevated risk,” the district added.
One trip to Central America has not yet been canceled.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has established a hotline and information center where people can get answers to their questions. Interested residents can call 859-899-2222 or send an email to COVID19@lfchd.org. FCPS has also placed information about COVID-19 on its website, along with links to additional resources.
To access the information, visit www.fcps.net/covid19.
“You may notice an increased emphasis on hygiene and handwashing in our schools and our communications with family. Our district will also increase the frequency of cleaning high traffic areas and equipment. Please know these are preventative measures and not an indication that something is wrong,” the district wrote.
“If you are looking for ways to help, please talk with your children at home about the importance of handwashing and practice proper handwashing techniques. Donations of tissues and hand sanitizer are always welcome in our schools. Perhaps most important, you can have conversations with your family about the connectedness of our world and the understanding that COVID-19 is not associated with race, ethnicity or nationality.
“Situations like these can test the values of a community. Lexington was recently named the most diverse city in the Commonwealth, which is a source of pride and strength. Our schools reflect that richness and we serve students from around the globe. It is critical that we guard against discrimination or stigmatization of any student, family or employee. FCPS is committed to creating welcoming, safe and inclusive schools where equity and social justice are daily practices,” the district continued.