By Shawn Crabtree, Lake Cumberland District Health Department Executive Director
On March 19th of 2020, Lake Cumberland had its first documented COVID-19 case. Over the ensuing year, the disease has left its mark on all of us, in one way or another. Businesses, churches, schools, and every single citizen have suffered and sacrificed, in a wide variety of ways.
At the peak of its spread, in early January of 2021, we were experiencing over 100 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 citizens. In late last December, we topped out at 301 new cases in a single day. Area hospitals were at their COVID-19 and ICU limits. Things looked dire as our public health and hospital capacity were near their breaking points. By the grace of God, and with the efforts of the health department and other health and medical providers, with citizen compliance with prevention guidance, and with vaccination efforts ramping up, though, it would seem we have turned the corner on this disease since the number of new cases per day have been on a steady decline since January. While we are not out of the woods yet (at the world level, cases are beginning again to increase since there are significant surges in several countries), we are thankful for the local decrease in cases, for continued public caution, and for the aggressive vaccination efforts.
While nothing about this disease has been easy on society, and while there are always areas where things could have been improved, I am proud of how our communities have responded. Again, we have all sacrificed but, hopefully, the end is in sight.
At this one-year anniversary, I take an account of the efforts of your local health departments in responding to this pandemic. With a small group of dedicated employees who were willing to work long hours and weekends for the last year straight, we have completed nearly 21,000 case investigations and provided contact tracing for approximately 125,000 individuals. While isolation and quarantine procedures have not been easy on anyone, our public has been largely cooperative and, together, we have slowed the spread of the disease, and, in the process, saved numerous lives, and prevented many hospitalizations.
But case investigations and contact tracing only scratch the surface of the health department’s efforts. Among other things, we worked with every single long-term care facility in our region, every public school district, and many churches and businesses to develop prevention and/or post-exposure plans. We hand-delivered information on multiple occasions to medical providers and many businesses. We developed a vast email network of medical providers, schools, businesses, and other community partners and pushed out frequent guidance and other updates. We worked with many long-term care and medical facilities to assess and secure personal protective equipment.
When it comes to testing, we became a testing kit distribution site and worked with area health providers to secure several thousand testing kits. We worked with multiple community health partners to coordinate and administer mass-testing sites.
We have consistently kept the public informed as to case statistics, testing locations, and vaccination information via our daily briefs posted on our social media sites and website. We have conducted weekly and then bi-weekly live media and public updates. And, we have participated in numerous radio, newspaper, and television interviews. We set up a call center and have answered tens of thousands of questions. We responded to more social media requests than can almost be fathomed.
Not including the nursing and personal care home vaccination efforts via the federal contract with Walgreens and CVS, nearly 30,000 first dose COVID-19 vaccines have been administered so far by Lake Cumberland area providers. The health department alone has administered around 16,000 1st and 2nd dose vaccines (nearly half of the vaccine that has been allocated to our district), consistently moving over 90% of our inventory per week, while giving priority to those who are the most likely to experience negative health outcomes.
While all of this has been disruptive and challenging (not to mention, controversial), I am proud of how the health department, all our community partners, and our citizens have responded and endured. Here’s to the hope that the virus doesn’t kick back up and that everyone will heal from the financial, and emotional pain this disease has caused.
Shawn Crabtree, LCDHD Executive Director
Statewide Testing Positivity Rate: 3.4%.
Deaths: We are pleased to report no new deaths today. We have experienced a total of 377 deaths resulting in a 1.8% mortality rate (about 1 in 56) among known cases. This compares with a 1.36% mortality rate at the state level and a 1.36% mortality rate at the national level.
Hospitalizations: We presently have 21 cases in the hospital. This is equal to what we reported yesterday. We have had a total of 1,157 hospitalizations resulting in a 5.52% hospitalization rate (about 1 in 18) among known cases. The state hospitalization rate is 4.79%. The latest data shows that 77.78% of Lake Cumberland’s ICU beds are filled, and 19.35% of ventilator capacity is being utilized.
Total (Cumulative) Cases: The Lake Cumberland District has experienced a total of 20,963 cases since the onset of the outbreak. This means that 10.04% of our total population has been a confirmed case. However, we do not know how many additional people may have had COVID-19 and were either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and never tested.
Released (Not contagious) Cases: We released 59 cases today from isolation. Released cases include: Adair: 6; Casey: 1; Clinton: 1; Green: 2; McCreary: 4; Pulaski: 26; Russell: 2; Taylor: 12; and, Wayne: 5. In all, we have released 97.3% of our total cases.
Active (Current) Cases: Taking into account deaths and releases, our active cases decreased by 23 more than the new cases we added today. This leaves us with 179 active cases in our district across all 10 of our district’s 10 counties. On 12/10/2020 we were at our peak number of active cases, 1,343.
Where Did Cases Visit Prior to Isolation: The most common places cases visited prior to isolation are (in descending order): Businesses, Family, Schools, and Medical Facilities. Of our active cases, 3% can not be tied back to another known case (community-spread cases).
New Cases: We report that our total case count has increased by 36 today: Adair: 6; Casey: 3; Clinton: 1; Green: 1; McCreary: 2; Pulaski: 13; Russell: 5; Taylor: 3; and, Wayne: 2. Our current new case growth rate is: 1.001. This means our total case count is projected to double every 556.28 days. The most new cases we ever added in a single day was on 12/30/2020 when we added 301 cases. Today’s new cases include:
Adair: A 46-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Adair: A 58-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Adair: A 50-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Adair: A 37-year-old male who is self-isolated, Asymptomatic;
Adair: A 21-year-old male who is released, Resolved;
Casey: A 5-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Casey: A 3-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Casey: A 67-year-old male who is self-isolated, Asymptomatic;
Clinton: A 57-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Clinton: A 31-year-old male who is released, Asymptomatic;
Green: A 85-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Green: A 70-year-old female who is self-isolated, Asymptomatic;
McCreary: A 53-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
McCreary: A 48-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
McCreary: A 30-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 45-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 61-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 50-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 57-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 57-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 45-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 63-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 66-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 18-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 14-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Pulaski: A 55-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Russell: A 72-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Russell: A 27-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Russell: A 39-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Russell: A 11-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Russell: A 19-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Taylor: A 65-year-old male who is released, Resolved;
Taylor: A 64-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Taylor: A 58-year-old male who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Taylor: A 51-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
Wayne: A 17-year-old female who is self-isolated, still symptomatic;
A close look at today’s data may appear that several of our county’s numbers are off today. That is because we moved cases from Taylor to Pulaski, Taylor to Adair, McCreary to Pulaski, Green to Taylor, and from Clinton to Wayne. This is part of our routine review and sanitization of our data.
Our new cases went up compared to last Friday, so our 7-day average incidence rate went up as well. We now have 5 counties in the “yellow-community-spread” category, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Green, and Russell; and 5 counties in the “orange-accelerated” range of community-spread: Adair, McCreary, Pulaski, Taylor, and Wayne. None of our counties are presently in the “red-critical” range.
We added 182 new cases since last Friday. We also added 182 cases for the 7 matching days prior. So, our new case decline for this week did not continue the trend of dropping as it has the last several weeks. So, for today and last Friday, our 7-day average incidence rate is and was 12.41 new cases per day per 100,000. On the positive, we only experienced 1 death over the last 7 days, and we have 21 hospitalized cases today compared with 24 last Friday. Also, this is the first time in a long-time our area ICU capacity has been less than 80% full.
The fact that our new case rate decline stabilized this week is a concern. While cases are still dropping for the moment in the United States, it should be noted that on the global level, cases have started to rise again. Countries like Brazil, India, France, Italy, and Germany are seeing sharp increases. Therefore, please don’t assume that the pandemic is completely behind us and take the vaccine as soon as you can. Also, until the vaccine is widely available, and a significant percentage of the population has taken it, let’s all do our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by wearing our face coverings, avoiding crowds (especially in confined spaces), social distancing when around others, increasing our hand hygiene, increasing our general sanitation, and by avoiding touching our faces.