COVID cases surge in Hart County
Mary Beth Sallee
On Monday, October 26, Governor Andy Beshear issued new Red Zone Reduction Recommendations to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the 55 counties that are currently in the red zone.
Red zone counties are those with 25 or more average daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents.
Hart County is currently a red zone county, ranked 4th in the state for highest COVID-19 incident rates.
“Every Kentuckian in a red zone county needs to work together to protect one another by following these recommendations,” Beshear said. “Now is not the time to give up. This is a time when more people are going to be at risk. It is a time when we need everyone to do better.”
The Red Zone Reduction Recommendations are as follows:
- Employers should allow employees to work from home when possible
- Government offices that do not provide critical services need to operate virtually
- Reduce in-person shopping; order online or pickup curbside as much as possible
- Order take-out and void dining in restaurants or bars
- Prioritize businesses that follow and enforce the mask mandate and other guidelines
- Reschedule, postpone, or cancel public events
- Do not host or attend gatherings of any size
- Avoid non-essential activities outside your home
- Reduce overall activity and contacts, and follow existing guidance, including the 10 Steps to Defeat COVID-19
“It is not a good time to be out in public,” said Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner of the Department for Public Health. “This is the most dangerous it has been in eight months. The risk of you getting infected in the state of Kentucky has never been higher.”
On October 26, Hart County Judge/Executive Joe Choate conducted a Facebook live video to discuss the current surge of COVID-19 cases in the county.
According to Judge Choate, from March through October 5, Hart County had a total of 204 cases over the course of seven months.
For the last three weeks, or 21 days, the county has added 210 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, with 104 of those cases added last week alone.
“We did a very good job for a long time, and our numbers stayed low,” Judge Choate said. “I looked at the numbers tonight…We’re averaging 10 a day right now over the last three weeks.”
“We went a long time, and we watched a lot of other places have a lot of cases and a lot of death, and we weren’t,” Choate added. “We were kind of untouched. It was awful easy to drop your guard on it. I know it was easy for me, too.”
Judge Choate stated that while everyone is understandably frustrated by the pandemic, much division has occurred in the county, division that is not needed during such unprecedented times.
“There’s a lot of opinions out there right now,” Choate said. “…But I can assure you, this is a time we need to come together. Certain things are out of our control, but this is definitely, definitely not one of them.”
“And I don’t care about Democrat, Republican, Independent,” Choate continued. “What I care about is the health of all Hart Countians.”
Judge Choate said the key to lowering cases is using common sense.
“If you’re not feeling well, stay home,” Choate said. “If you’re an at-risk person or you have underlying conditions, stay home. If you must be out – and by all means we want to do business with our local businesses – if you’re out, let’s practice social distancing. When you can’t keep six-feet, wear a mask. Or if you’re in the stores, wear the mask.”
At this point, Judge Choate stated, everyone knows someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“I know things have changed on us throughout this,” Choate said. “But I can promise you, everybody knows somebody that’s had it now. I know of at least seven or eight (people) who are in the hospital at this moment. That’s just people I know. We’ve had deaths with it, and I’m afraid we’re going to have more.”
Judge Choate posed a challenge to all Hart Countians to abide by Kentucky Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines.
“I challenge you,” Choate said. “…Let’s wear our masks when we can’t social distance. If you’ve got the conditions or are at-risk, try to avoid being around other folks. Let’s keep our contacts down, and I promise you if we will do this, we will get our number down.”
“I want Hart County to be number one for some good things,” Choate added. “I sure don’t want to be number four like we are right now in the red zone for having the fourth highest incident rate in the state. We’re better than this.”
The Judge continued to urge that everyone come together for all of Hart County.
“Let’s just try to be safer,” Choate said. “I just wanted you to know I’m thinking of all of you…Let’s do better. Let’s get our numbers down and get Hart County out of the red. God bless.”
Judge Choate invited anyone who would like printed copies of the recommendations or guidelines to contact his office at 270-524-5219.
More information concerning COVID-19 cases in the state can also be found on the Team Kentucky website at kycovid19.ky.gov.