COVID-19 fatigue allows Southeastern Kentucky Counties to remain in the red zone

Mark Hensley, the health department director, says the virus isn’t being taken as seriously as...
Mark Hensley, the health department director, says the virus isn’t being taken as seriously as it should be. Hensley says they are averaging about 20 cases a day and that is keeping them in the red.(WKYT)
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 4:09 PM EDT
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Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News First at Four

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Several Southeast Kentucky counties remain in the red zone, Laurel County being one of them.

Local leaders say the COVID-19 virus is spreading, and they cannot blame surges on schools reopening or nursing home outbreaks.

Health leaders applaud Laurel County educators on their hybrid plan, as schools find ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Out of 9,000 students, 36 students and 22 teachers have tested positive.

There has been the recommendation that if the county is in the red, the schools go back to virtual learning. However, Laurel County students have remained in school, and health leaders say the way they are doing it is very good.

“I think they have a very good plan in place. They have strict protocols. They adhere to those,” said Health Department Director Mark Hensley.

Laurel County nursing homes do not have any currently registered cases, and the county is averaging more than 20 cases a day.

Hensley said, “We are averaging 22 cases a day in Laurel County. Which keeps us in the red zone.”

Tuesday, more than 40 new cases for Laurel County were reported, but health leaders do believe some of those numbers may be several days old.

Hensley believes people aren’t taking it serious enough.

“I think during July and August, the first of September, folks were trying to adhere to the CDC guidelines. As we have moved along I don’t see that as much.”

He says people aren’t wearing their masks or social distancing enough.

“They’re fatigued with covid 19. People are letting their guards down. Not practicing social distancing. Not wearing their mask,” said Hensley.

Laurel County Health leaders say the virus isn’t going to go away on its own, so until there’s a vaccine, only pharmaceutical interventions will have to be followed.

They also say 20-30 percent of their positive cases are asymptomatic. Only two to four percent require hospitalization and facilities in London and Corbin are not being overwhelmed.

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