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Day after first local COVID-19 case announced, patient dies

By ABIGAIL WHITEHOUSE

Contributing Writer

 

STANFORD, Ky. – Lincoln County’s first confirmed positive case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was announced Monday, and by Tuesday morning, that case had resulted in the county’s first death from the virus, according to Lincoln County Health Department Director Diane Miller.

On Monday, the health department announced that a 76-year-old Lincoln County resident living at the Stanford Care and Rehab facility tested positive for COVID-19. The resident was tested at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center.

“Sadly to say, that patient passed this morning shortly before 8 a.m.,” Miller said Tuesday.

Miller urged the public to continue practicing the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines for social distancing, as well as washing hands frequently and staying healthy at home as much as possible.

On April 9, the health department announced that an employee of the Stanford Care and Rehab facility, a long-term care facility located on Harmon Heights, tested positive for COVID-19. That employee is a resident of Boyle County, Miller said.

Families of affected residents were notified of the exposure and since then, the LCHD has been working closely with the Kentucky Department for Public Health to implement procedures and protocols to protect the residents and staff.

“When we first learned that there was an employee that had tested positive we put protocols in place as far as wearing appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment),” Miller said. “Due to the first case, all of those who had contact with the employee were placed in quarantine for 14 days.”

That quarantine started April 9 with the first positive case at the facility, she said.

Since then, three other residents have been tested and Miller said the health department is closely monitoring the situation.

Miller said officials from LCHD, Stanford Care and Rehab, the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Kentucky State Regional Infection Prevention and Epidemiology (EPI) will be discussing the situation via a conference call some time on Wednesday.

“We will be having a phone conference on what other procedures and guidelines that we need to put in place,” she said.

“If you are asked to quarantine, please quarantine for the safety of everyone,” she said.

Miller said she didn’t receive any complaints about churches gathering for in-person services or violating any of the state’s executive orders that prohibited crowds from gathering over the Easter weekend.

“I didn’t get any complaints from the public,” she said.

Several churches in Lincoln County held drive-in services and appear to have maintained the guidelines for social distancing, she said.

 

SO YOU KNOW

The health department offers these tips to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.