MURRAY — As Calloway County learned about its 11th death to a resident during the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, the number of local cases continued to rise.

Seven new cases were reported Thursday by the Calloway County Health Department. sending the total number of cases of the coronavirus to 813. That was a significant improvement from Wednesday’s one-day report of 21, but there are increasingly ominous signs that such drops are becoming fewer and farther between.

That can be found in the number of active cases, which has skyrocketed in the past two weeks. On Thursday, the health department reported 131 active cases, with 128 patents isolated at home and three requiring treatment in hospitals.

It all leads to a rather obvious conclusion for Calloway County Health Department Interim Director of Public Health Kim Paschall.

“I think the next few months are going to be rough for us. I hope not, but I’m not thinking (a reduction in cases) is happening anytime soon.” Paschall said Thursday afternoon.

Another sign of increasing trouble is the calculated positivity rate that is tracked by Murray-Calloway County Hospital. The latest rate recorded by MCCH is 8.99%, which was recorded on Monday. That is the highest number since the pandemic began.

“What we have is community spread, and that’s a scary thing,” Paschall said of how the virus has now settled into the community in such a way that people are not able to tell where they contracted it. “We, of course, are seeing little clusters in households and maybe we have some businesses that have little clusters, but the majority of it is now community spread.

“That means people don’t know how they got it, which tells me that they’re now getting it from simply being out in public, like maybe going to the store or doing what we would call normal activities. The only thing I can attribute (the sudden rise in cases) to is that maybe people are getting tired of being in and having to wear masks and maybe not getting as good at hand washing and staying at home when they’re not feeling well.

“The ‘new’ is off and everybody is just kind of tired of it.”

Paschall said this is not the time for that kind of attitude, and she also said that the evidence is overwhelming that certain types of weather do little to limit the spread. She cited Calloway, which was at less than 50 cases at the end of May and had experienced one death as well.

The county gained more than 100 cases in just the last week.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear did not have any information as to the age and gender of the Calloway victim in his daily COVID—19 update from Frankfort. Kentucky, which has been setting new weekly records for numbers of cases the past three weeks, had 20 deaths reported Thursday, he said.

There were 1,260 new cases reported across the commonwealth on Thursday.

“We just can’t ignore it. We can’t pretend like it’s not here,” said Beshear. “We can’t allow the fact that we are inconvenienced make us pretend that the virus isn’t with us and isn’t deadly.”

Calloway has had 671 patients recover from the virus. Additional details about patients are not being released by the health department in order to protect their privacy.

In a statement, the health department said of the 11th death in the county, “We would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family.”

Anyone with questions or needing additional help can go to kycovid19.ky.gov or call the state hotline at 1-800-722-5725, a medical provider or the Calloway County Health Department at 270-753-3381.

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