Calm urged by Lincoln Emergency Management concerning COVID-19
If the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread, Lincoln County may eventually need to declare an emergency. But such a declaration would not be a reason to panic — it would just represent Lincoln officials taking necessary action to address the problem, according to information from Lincoln County Emergency Management.
Residents should definitely not be alarmed if a local state of emergency is declared. The declaration would be “necessary to allow government agencies to bypass normal avenues of acquiring resources,” according to EMA’s news release. “Stay tuned to local media for updates.”
“One area of concern is the availability of manpower if (first responders) are affected by illness or confinement,” according to the release. “Citizens are encouraged to avoid social gatherings and if you do attend, try to maintain a distance of 6 feet from other attendees. Avoid contact such as handshaking, embracing, etc. If you must cough, use a tissue to cover your mouth and dispose of it immediately.”
COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus, a family of many viruses that includes some common colds. Since it is a new virus that only began spreading late last year, officials are still working to understand everything about it. There is not yet a vaccine. Health officials have said while around 80% of people who get the virus exhibit only mild cold-like symptoms, COVID-19’s fatality rate is many times higher than that of influenza. Older people and those with other complicating medical factors appear to be most at risk.
Information about the COVID-19 virus from the Kentucky Department for Public Health is available at www.kycovid19.ky.gov. According to that site, as of 5:05 p.m. March 10, 54 Kentuckians had been tested for possible infection by COVID-19. Forty-six tested negative and eight tested positive.
Additional information is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.
According to KDPH, the current risk posed by COVID-19 in Kentucky is “low.”
“Evidence to date indicates those most at risk for becoming ill with COVID-19 are those in close contact with someone with a confirmed COVID-19 infection, including healthcare workers; and those who have traveled in the past 14 days in countries with ongoing community spread of the virus,” according to KDPH.
The CDC current labels four countries with “warning level 3,” meaning everyone should avoid all non-essential travel to those locations: Italy, China, South Korea and Iran. The CDC also has a “warning level 2” alert for Japan, meaning visitors to the country should “practice enhanced cautions” due to the presence of COVID-19. Hong Kong is labeled with a “warning level 1,” meaning visitors should “practice usual precautions.”
KDPH offers the following guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19:
- “If you are 60 years old or older and/or have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney failure or other chronic major medical conditions, we recommend you avoid densely populated community events.”
- “Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are advised to restrict visitors.”
- “Working people, students, employers and schools are advised to plan actively for telework/distance learning options appropriate for their situations and support all workers/students to stay at home if they are ill.”
- “Only go to the emergency department for an illness that would have taken you to the hospital before the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have runny nose, cough, fever or other common respiratory infection symptoms, take Tylenol- or Motrin-like products and stay home from work or school until you are fever-free. If you think you need medical care, please contact your healthcare provider for their instruction or visit an emergency department if you believe you have an emergency.”