With first coronavirus case, county needs help finding contacts

KNOTT COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Knott County in southeastern Kentucky confirmed its coronavirus case Thursday and now health officials there need help reaching people who may have had contact with the victim.

The victim is a 39-year-old woman who works at the Hindman Appalachian Wireless store, according to a post on the Kentucky River Health District Facebook page.

Knott County, which has a population of a little more than 15,000, is surrounded by Floyd, Letcher, Perry, Magoffin and Breathitt counties. As of Wednesday, Breathitt, Perry and Letcher counties had at least one coronavirus case while Floyd and Magoffin did not, according to the state’s web site.

The health department is asking anyone who was in the store between March 24 – April 3 to self-isolate because they may have been exposed to the virus, according to the post. If anyone starts showing symptoms such as a cough or fever, they should call their doctor.

In addition, the health department is trying to identify and track down all the people who may have come in contact with the infected woman.

Scott Lockard, the director of the health department, said experts think the risk of exposure is “low” an that all precautions are being taken.

The wireless company issued the statement below:

“Appalachian Wireless has learned that one of its employees – a retail sales associate for the Hindman, Knott County store – has tested positive for COVID-19. Appalachian Wireless has closed the Hindman store temporarily for thorough cleaning per CDC guidelines. The employee is feeling relatively well and is self-quarantining at home,” the statement read.

“Public safety is our top priority. Appalachian Wireless has been working with local officials and the health department to determine if other employees and citizens could have been exposed. Appalachian Wireless will continue to take proactive steps in all of its locations to try to limit the risk of exposure for our employees and customers. Barriers in place to maintain social distancing, sneeze guards in front of registers, thorough cleaning each morning, and limited store hours are just a few examples of steps taken in this ever-evolving situation.

“Appalachian Wireless would like to remind citizens that it is important to be prepared and to continue to take measures to help reduce the spread of this virus. Washing hands often for at least 20 seconds, covering your cough/sneeze, frequently sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, staying healthy at home (especially if you are sick), and practicing social distancing are just a few examples of steps to help prevent the spread. As a reminder, please visit your local Appalachian Wireless store only if necessary, and check our website first for details on how we can help you by phone or online,” the company concluded.

Categories: coronavirus, Coronavirus Updates, Local News, News