Lexington leaders still frustrated with prison

Federal Medical Center (exterior)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Trying to stem the tide of coronavirus cases at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington remains a “work in progress,” although the increase in the number of cases at the 1,400-bed facility appears to be slowing, Mayor Linda Gorton told City Council members during an update Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, Lexington and Fayette County had 582 coronavirus cases. Of those, 243 are at the Federal Medical Center, Gorton said. The federal Bureau of Prisons has tested all the inmates it intends to test, the mayor said and has only tested 145 staff members.

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The city’s Health Department and city and state leaders have urged prison staff to get tested.

“The Federal Medical Center remains a work in progress,” she said. “With the prison having almost half the county’s cases, the numbers aren’t as bad as it looks. The numbers at the orison are slowly, the jumps have been in smaller numbers.”

The county has had 12 deaths.  Of the total numbers, 63 percent are among whites, 34 percent are African-American and 11 percent are Hispanic or Latino.

The mayor said health care providers are seeing a small uptick in coronavirus-related visits but those cases appear to be milder.

City Council member Jennifer Reynolds also asked about the possibility o the Council making rules that would allow it to meet in person as opposed to the teleconferencing it has been using the last two months.

Reynolds said the governor’s office had told her the council could approve its own meeting system and promised to get that information to Gorton.

“I don’t understand how churches can gather and we can’t,” Reynolds said, questioning the common sense between the two guidelines.

Gorton said she’d been told by the state it would be at least July when the CDC limit on gatherings is raised to 50 before in-person city and county government meetings would be allowed.

“I know it is very difficult for,” Gorton said.