MURRAY — The Calloway County Health Department said Wednesday that a second Calloway County resident has now tested positive for COVID-19.
In a news release Wednesday morning, Calloway County Health Department Director of Nursing Kim Paschall said that no other information was known about the patient, other than the fact that it is a Calloway County resident. She also said the patient cannot be identified because of privacy laws.
“We found out (Wednesday morning) around 8:30,” said Calloway County Health Department Director of Public Health Amy Ferguson, adding that her office is seeking information as to the whereabouts of the patient before being diagnosed. “No, we don’t have (that information) yet, but we’re in that process and we have initially started an investigation at this point.”
The first case was confirmed Friday morning. Murray-Calloway County Hospital said that the first patient is an employee, a 28-year-old male, of that facility. It is believed that person and his family spent a significant amount of time with another person who is not from Murray and was diagnosed as COVID-19 positive early last week after experiencing symptoms upon returning home, believed to be the Nashville, Tennessee area.
Ferguson said Tuesday afternoon that the new Calloway case is not connected to the first case.
This comes at a time the number of cases is increasing in western Kentucky, specifically the Purchase Area. On Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported officially that the first two cases in McCracken County had been confirmed. With the two Calloway County cases, that brings the number to four.
“I’m not surprised at all,” Ferguson said of the fact that more cases are being revealed locally, adding that there may be a positive to all of this in that the number is very low right now, as is the case with the rest of Kentucky, which, while reporting significant spikes every day the past week or so, is still well behind surrounding states in the number of total cases. Kentucky stood at 163 following Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily update on the COVID-19 situation in Frankfort.
“It does seem like it is slower than surrounding states, particularly Illinois and Tennessee,” she said, crediting Beshear for enacting very strong restrictions, even going so far as to issue executive orders, to close most businesses and gathering spots to in-house traffic, along with continuously reminding Kentuckians to exercise social distancing.
“I think the governor has done well in that and I think it has limited the number of cases so far.”
In the news release, Paschall said the health department is continuing to work with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, as well as the Kentucky Department for Public Health, as this situation unfolds.
“We believe the risk to the public is low, and as this situation evolves, we will continue to communicate with the CDC, DPH and the people of Calloway County,” she said.
“My advise is the same as it has been from the beginning and that is to follow the advice that is being given every day by the governor,”Ferguson said. “We’ve got to continue practicing that social distancing (standing no closer than 6 feet from others and staying no longer than 30 minutes should traveling to places with crowds be required), do not gather for long, hand wash many times during the day. I mean, that really is the best advice at this point.”
Additional cautions include:
• Avoid close contact with anyone who is exhibiting illness symptoms (especially fever, cough and shortness of breath)
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
• Cover coughs with a tissue or cough into a shirt or sleeve of a shirt and make sure to immediately dispose the tissue after use.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects with a household cleaning spray or wipe.
Paschall added that the virus is spread by respiratory droplets. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough or shortness of breath. Individuals experiencing symptoms are advised to first contact the Calloway County Health Department or a health care provider by phone.
Anyone with questions or needing additional help is asked to go online at kycovid19.ky.gov or phone the state COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-722-5725, a medical provider or the health department at 270-753-3381.