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McCracken Officials Give COVID-19 Update
By West Kentucky Star Staff
MCCRACKEN COUNTY - At their bi-weekly update on Friday, city and county officials recommended everyone continue to take precautions during the pandemic. 

McCracken County Emergency Management Director Jerome Mansfield, Purchase District Health Department Direct Kent Koster, Mayor Brandi Harless, Baptist Health Paducah Chief Medical Officer Brad Housman and County Judge Executive Craig Clymer spoke at the briefing. 

In the wake of "hot spots" across the country where COVID-19 cases have dramatically increased in recent weeks, all these officials reminded citizens of their responsibility to themselves and others when they go out in public. They stressed McCracken County residents should continue to wash their hands, wear masks and practice social distancing. 

"When I am wearing a mask I am not doing it to necessarily protect me from other folks, I am doing it to protect others from me," Housman said. "I see it as something that is being considerate to others. It is certainly unpleasant and an inconvenience as the summer gets warmer and warmer but it's the least I can do." 

Housman said there haven't been any large increases in patient traffic at the hospital related to the virus. He said that the community is in this for the long haul and it will be the new normal for the coming months. 

The Purchase District Health Department has been notified of five additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in McCracken County. The confirmed cases include a man in his 40s, a woman in her 40s, a man in his 30s and two women in their twenties. 

McCracken County has had 152 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, ninety-six have fully recovered and there have been three deaths. 

Starting June 29, allowed gatherings will go from 10 persons to a maximum of 50. Also starting Monday, venues and event spaces can operate at 50% capacity. Certain care facilities will be opening up for visitations soon, and Koster said he is worried. 

"It's a scary thing for me to even think about because it is such a fragile environment and with outside people coming in to visit it only takes one that has COVID-19 to cause a spread in that facility," Koster said. "I know people want to see their loved ones and I know it's important but right now it scares me to think about people going into those nursing homes." 

Koster's agency has received some tentative plans from school districts for high school athletics conditioning and are currently reviewing them.  

Koster said 18 of the most recent cases in McCracken County have mostly been a result of traveling outside the state of Kentucky. 

When asked if there was a trend with younger people and new cases, Koster said that the younger population is taking more advantage of the reopenings and would agree that there are more cases among people 65 and younger. 

He advised everyone that contact tracing agencies are using phones that have a 502 area code, so citizens might want to consider answering the call. 

Mayor Harless said the city is working on a third round of small business grants that will be mailed out around July 10.

Harless said, "We had a little over 300 businesses apply in the initial round, and we haven't quite made it through that whole list yet so we will not be re-opening that application process unless we get extra funds."

She added that officials are working toward re-opening playgrounds and the splash pads at Robert Coleman Spray Park and the Pat and Jim Brockenborough Rotary Health Park. They are putting guidelines in place and hope to open them by mid-July.



Published 04:03 PM, Friday Jun. 26, 2020
Updated 04:41 PM, Friday Jun. 26, 2020

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