With cases confirmed in Laurel and McCreary County it is not a matter of if a confirmed case of COVID–19 will be diagnosed in Whitley County, but when, and Whitley County Health Department officials have a plan in place to respond.
Shawn Crabtree, Executive Director of the Lake Cumberland Area Health District, announced that a 20-year-old female from the Pine Knot area had contracted the virus and health officials were working to determine who she may have been in contact with recently.
Pine Knot is centered on U.S. 27 and the intersection of Ky. 92.
Mark Hensley, Executive Director of the Laurel County Health Department, stated that the person tested positive through a commercial lab.
“The Laurel County Health Department Epidemiology Rapid Response Team is collaborating with the Department for Public Health to track individuals who have had close contact with this new case and are at risk for infection,” Hensley stated. “Those individuals will be instructed on proper quarantine measures and monitored to safeguard their own and the public health.”
Whitley County Health Department Public Health Director Marcy Rein said that when an individual is confirmed to have the coronavirus he or she will be placed in isolation and health officials will speak with them to determine who may have been in contact with.
Rein said approximately 100 people in Whitley County have been tested for the coronavirus to date
The test involves inserting a Q-tip into the nose and reaching the throat area.
“It is not pleasant, but probably not has horrible as people anticipate,” Rein said.
While a number of different labs are completing the testing, Rein said it is currently taking five to seven days to get the results.
“Tests on first-responders, medical care providers and at-risk patients are prioritized,” Rein said.
Rein said the only symptom that will set coronavirus apart from seasonal allergies is a fever.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus included: fever, tiredness, shortness of breath and dry cough.
Individuals who believe they may have the coronavirus are encouraged to contact their medical care provider to determine whether further testing is warranted.
Testing is only being performed by order of a doctor at the moment.
According to the Center for Disease Control emergency warning signs include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or the inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face.
Officials at Baptist Health Corbin said previously that anyone coming to the emergency room for treatment of possible coronavirus should call ahead so that emergency personnel can be prepared to receive them.
Rein said in order to control the spread, the best thing people can do is avoid contact as much as possible, and avoid going out in public.
“That is what is really going to tamp this thing down,” Rein said.
However, that does not mean people must remain confined to their homes.
“We encourage people to go out in the fresh air, even in the rain. Just stay six feet away from others,” Rein said.