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First case of 2019 novel coronavirus in Kentucky reported, Gov. Beshear declares state of emergency

KyForward staff

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is reporting Kentucky’s first case of COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus).

While the risk to the general public is low, health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) to identify and contact all those who may have come in contact with the person.

Gov. Beshear

These individuals will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on Friday to ensure all state entities have the necessary resources to respond.

“We have been preparing and this was expected as the novel coronavirus spread throughout the world and into neighboring states,” Gov. Beshear said. “We urge Kentuckians not to panic, and to continue taking precautionary steps to protect their health and that of those around them.”

The governor confirmed the first case is in Lexington with the individual currently in isolation in a medical facility receiving treatment.

“I want to make sure every resource we need we have right now,” Gov. Beshear said in declaring the state of emergency. “Everyone should be calm and know your state government will have every tool they need.”

Gov. Beshear’s order can be read in full here.

The patient is the first person known to be infected with COVID-19 in Kentucky. The WEDCO District Health Department issued a statement on Facebook saying the patient was a Harrison County resident.

The University of Kentucky released a statement saying the patient was in isolation at UK Chandler Hospital. Additional details about the person cannot be provided because of medical privacy laws.

“We believe the risk to the public is low, and as this situation evolves, we will continue to communicate with the CDC, KDPH and the people of Lexington,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh. “The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, there are everyday preventative actions you can do to help prevent the spread of this virus.”

The health department offered these tips:

*         Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

*         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.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

*         Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

*         Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

*         These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

In the United States, spread from person-to-person has occurred only among a few close contacts. COVID-19 is an emerging disease and there is much more to learn about its transmission and severity.

To help answer the community’s questions about COVID-19, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is operating a call center for members of the public.

Questions can be asked by calling (859) 899-2222 or emailing COVID19@lfchd.org. Additional information, including frequently asked questions, can be found at lfchd.organd on the LFCHD social media accounts.

Lexington-Fayette County Health Department

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