Health department district warns of coronavirus clusters with several links

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PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Lake Cumberland District Health Department has issued an alert letting residents in its 10-county service area know of a spike in coronavirus cases and a cluster “of active cases in Somerset.”

In a Facebook post, the district said it has 180 active cases with seven of those hospitalized. Of the 180 active cases, only 49 are asymptomatic.

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“We are seeing outbreaks associated with long-term care facilities, factories, churches and travel,” the district said, noting symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and may include: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

The district said LCDHD it has identified a cluster of positive COVID19 cases associated with Cracker Barrel employees in Somerset. The employees who tested positive are self-isolating at home in line with the latest public health guidance, the district said.

Cracker Barrel also “took immediate steps to notify employees who may have been in contact with those who tested positive.”

“The health and safety of employees and guests is our top priority. We’ve been working closely and fully cooperating with the Lake Cumberland District Health Department as we evaluate this situation,” Heidi Pearce, Cracker Barrel spokesperson, told the district. “We’ve taken the following actions: transitioned the location to curbside, pickup and delivery service only, which reduces staffing in the store; limited the number of guests allowed in the building; and performed additional cleaning and sanitation measures. Also, all employees will continue to undergo daily wellness screens and wear masks in accordance with the Governor’s statewide order.”

“With the prevalence of COVID19 in our community, LCDHD encourages citizens to treat everyone who is not in their household as potentially COVID positive. The best advice we can offer is to wear a mask when in public or around non-household members, stay 6 feet apart, avoid mass gatherings and wash hands frequently,” the district said.

According to its Web site, 72 or 44.4 percent — of current active cases are in long-term care facilities, 37 or 22.2 percent are travel-related, 17 or 10.1 percent or related to business work places, 14 or 8.1 percent are tied to churches, nine or 5.1 percent are connected to restaurants, seven or 4 percent are related to medical facilities and six or 4 percent or linked to recreation.

The district’s 10 counties are Adair, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Green, McCreary, Pulaski, Russell, Taylor and Wayne.

In the last two weeks, almost all except McCreary have seen jumps in cases, particularly Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Pulaski, Russell and Taylor.

The district has gone from a fraction of cases per 10,000 population the last week of June to 3.58 cases per 10,000 the week of July 4 to 7.16 cases per 10,000 the week that ended Saturday, July 11.

The average age of patients is 53.