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Pike County officials raise concerns as COVID-19 cases increase

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 9:29 PM EDT
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PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Pike County officials hosted a news conference Tuesday, urging people to take the coronavirus seriously.

Public Health Director Tammy Riley said the county is nearing 90 positive cases, currently sitting at 87.

Riley said there were two new cases Tuesday, which makes 25 active cases- one of whom is currently hospitalized. She said 60 people recovered from the virus and two died.

“It is alarming. If you look at where we were going into Memorial Day weekend,” Riley said. “We had 28 cases. We are now at 87. What that shows is: it’s the growth rate that’s concerning.”

According to Riley, the most recent cases are either linked to one another or have connections to travel. She said traveling puts people at ease, which often causes them to drop their guards against the virus.

Dr. Fadi Al Ahkrass agreed, saying people “decided to chase the virus.”

“Ironically, COVID-19 was not able to come to Eastern Kentucky, so we decided to chase the virus on the beaches,” said Dr. Al Ahkrass. “If we’re gonna basically put our guards down and keep basically moving from community to another community, and not follow the restriction policies, what are we gonna do? We’re gonna bring the infection here to our area.”

He said continuing to be a responsible citizen is more important than ever because the state is doing its part, so it’s up to the people of the county to make sure they are doing the same. He said the trips to the beach are not part of that.

“We need to have fun, but we need to do what’s best for us and what’s best for our community,” he said. “But we need to keep the ‘Five Cs’- the restriction policies.”

He said wearing masks is not only a great tool but an “act of strength” to show care for others and caution for self.

Judge Executive Ray Jones said people are still questioning the validity of the virus.

“It is real. There are a lot of people that still think it’s a hoax, that think it’s not a threat to us here,” Jones said.

He said the county leaders can issue as many ordinances as they want, but it is up to people to follow the guidance in place. He said he does not want to put any new ordinances into place but he wants the community to wake up.

With the steady positive cases, the county opened another testing site in partnership with Governor Andy Beshear’s office, bringing the Kroger Health tent back to Shelby Valley High School.

The self-administered testing is open Wednesday and Thursday, with the capability of testing 1,200 people. The tents opened Tuesday, only testing 50 people. On-site professionals say they hope to see that number increase in the days to come.

“A lot of the positives that we are identifying have no symptoms. So, that definitely is a reason to come out. And we can test people without symptoms, with symptoms, we’re glad to test anybody,” said Regional Clinic Director Natalie Wells.

She said the test is not invasive and results are back in two to three days.

Wells urges re-testing if you have been tested in the past. Find out more about that on the clinic website.

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