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Precaution over panic: Lincoln declares state of emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic

STANFORD – The nation is taking extreme precautions to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) — and Lincoln County is no different. Lincoln County and the three cities within it have declared a state of emergency.

Last week, Lincoln County Public Schools, along with most districts in the state, canceled in-person classes from March 13 through April 10.

That may change depending on future circumstances, but for now, schools will remain closed until after spring break.

As of Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln County, according to Lincoln County Health Department Director Diane Miller.

Miller said she was unable to share the number of people in the county who have been tested, since some private practices are now being used to complete those tests.

She did, however, continue to urge residents to practice good hygiene.

“Of course, we’re just giving out the same guidelines as the CDC (Center for Disease Control) like social distancing and making sure you’re doing good hygiene, washing your hands, staying away from sick individuals and such,” Miller said.

Miller said health officials are asking residents who are seeking medical attention to call physicians first, rather than travel to physician offices or the emergency room.

“If they think that they need to seek medical attention, we are asking them not to just directly go to the physician’s office, we’re asking them to call first so that they can take a history and determine whether they actually need to come in,” she said.

Miller said if residents don’t have to be out in the public, stay home.

“We know that maybe you need to go to the grocery store or those types of things, but as far as gatherings, make sure you’re looking at that and don’t be in large gatherings and those types of things,” she said.

Declaring a state of emergency is no reason to panic, according to Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Don Gilliam. Gov. Andy Beshear declared a public health emergency in Kentucky on March 6.

Gilliam said Lincoln County, along with Crab Orchard, Hustonville and Stanford, have declared a state of emergency.

“We don’t want to alarm anybody, that’s just so we can have access to additional funding and avenues to get resources without having to go through the standard bidding processes and that sort of thing,” Gilliam said.

“We do not have a case here in Lincoln County that has tested positive, so it’s just a fundamental precautionary move on our part,” he said.