As of press time, there was a total of 79 cases of COVID-19 in the Lincoln Trail District. Additional cases were reported in Hardin, Meade, Nelson, and Washington Counties. The total number of cases per county is as follows: Hardin--32, LaRue--5, Marion--13, Meade--6, Nelson--18, and Washington--5. Currently, 74 cases are on home isolation or have been released from monitoring.
Governor Beshear recently announced benchmarks Kentucky must meet before easing restrictions to reopen the state’s economy while keeping Kentuckians safe. These steps will incorporate White House guidelines and advice from public health experts. The benchmarks will guide the Governor’s actions as he begins easing restrictions such as what has been announced in the healthcare industry beginning next week. The seven benchmarks include:
1. Data that demonstrates a fourteen consecutive day decline in the number and rate of new cases. Kentucky is not on a decline currently. According to the Governor, “we cannot go down, until we stop going up.” Fourteen consecutive days may not be as simple as it seems. The beginning of the fourteen days does not hinge on a set date but will be decided by the data.
2. Increased testing capacity and contact tracing that would allow even those who do not have symptoms to be tested. In the Lincoln Trail area, the decision to test individuals is based on a two-tiered system. Tier One includes: Individuals with active symptoms (fever and cough, and/or difficulty breathing) who are healthcare workers, first responders, people over 60 years of age, or those currently living in a congregate setting such as a nursing home or jail. Tier Two includes those with active symptoms who have chronic medical conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes, COPD, liver or kidney failure or a compromised immune system). However, steps are being taken to open testing to a wider population across Kentucky. Recently, Governor Beshear announced that Kroger testing sites in Louisville and Lexington will be open to everyone. These locations were chosen to target the African American population who suffer higher fatality rates than the general public. The sites will operate from Monday – Friday, starting April 27th and will run for two weeks.
3. Personal protective equipment (PPE) availability. PPE continues to be in short supply across the healthcare system. There is still a great demand for gowns, gloves, face masks, and face shields. Individual service providers will be required to acquire necessary PPE for staff and patients through their own supply chains.
----- This story is being provided for free to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to Meade County Messenger at https://www.meadecountyky.com/plans-pricing.