LISTEN HERE: Son makes emotional plea following father’s coronavirus death


SOMERSET. Ky. (WTVQ) – Pulaski County’s first coronavirus-related death provides a platform for an emotional push for the community to take the disease seriously, to abide by health and safety rules, and put aside blame and differences and come together.

During an online press conference Thursday, Pulaski County Judge Executive Stephen Kelley announced 62-year-old David Pitman had died.

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Ironically, Pitman had retired last year to wage a successful fight with cancer but earlier this year, came down with pneumonia and then the coronavirus.

Before his death, one of his son’s, Dustin Pitman, posted an emotional plea on Facebook encouraging the community to believe the disease is dangerous.

Watch it here:

For everybody asking, please feel free to share, if it saves one person then to me it means my dad is still helping out after his passing,( @1:12am on 4/2/2020)

Posted by Dustin Pitman on Wednesday, April 1, 2020


“This will end one day, I don’t know when but it will. But if this doesn’t get your attention, we don’t know what will,” Kelley told those listening, using Easter to urge the community to find its faith.

“This could be any of us,” he stated.

“Wake up every day and say thank you for something you are grateful for,” added Mayor Alan Keck, urging the community to build its “gratitude meter.”

Pittman’s case is one of more than a dozen linked to a church that held a service early last month and one member of the congregation attended not knowing she had the coronavirus.

Shawn Crabtree, the director of the Lake Cumberland Health District which covers the region, used that as a teaching moment for the community.

“Don’t cast stones at the church. How many of us are really doing our part to obey the rules,” Crabtree stated.

He said the health region has about 200,000 people. And if just 1 percent of that population — 2,000 people — don’t follow the self-distancing and other rules, that will lead to 288 cases based on the way the coronavirus works.

And those 288 would then multiply to others.

He noted that with the 26 cases in the region now, if the numbers increase at the current 21 percent a day, the region could have 375 in two weeks.

“I hope we are wrong. It may get worse before it gets better, but I hope we don’t see these kinds of numbers,” he said, imploring people to follow the rules and stay home and away from groups.

Listen to the entire press conference here: