A media Zoom meeting was held on April 29, 2020 for our media partners and community. A list of questions was presented to our staff by the media.
Our panel consisted of:
Shawn Crabtree, Executive Director
Dr. Christine Weyman, Medical Director
Stuart Spillman, Environmental Health Director
Laura Woodrum, Director of Nursing
Tracy Aaron, Health Education Director – moderator
Kentucky and Tennessee COVID-19 deaths are almost identical. Yet Tennessee has tested over 100,000, while Kentucky test numbers are somewhere around 33,000. Why has Tennessee been able to test three times the number of cases as Kentucky, and are our total numbers likely very similar to Tennessee’s given the testing differentials?
I can’t speak to Tennessee’s testing circumstances. Kentucky’s first case was 3 days earlier than Tennessee’s. As of 4/28, Kentucky had 930.2 cases per 100,000. Tennessee had 1,451.4. Both Kentucky and
Tennessee’s growth rates were 1.05 (that means it doubles 15.15 days). Kentucky’s total deaths is 47.7 per 100,000 and Tennessee’s was 26.9 per 100,000). I’m not sure about the differences.
Since Adair County is included in the LCHD area, many are concerned and watching closely the “hot spot” that Summit Manor has become because there are local people who live and work there and it is so very CLOSE to Russell. I have been hearing for several weeks that the positive cases were much more that what is being reported to Frankfort. For instance, they reported yesterday that they had had 78 cases with 9 released and 9 deaths. They went on to say that they currently have 60 active cases with 48 of those in home of Summit Manor Nursing Home isolation and 12 in area hospitals. However, the report that the Governor gives has never reported that many. I know it takes several days for the information to flow to Frankfort but this has been public knowledge for several weeks now.
This is where the Governor gets his information:
I can’t speak to how exactly he discussed this during his conferences.
Also, here is a report specific to https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/covid19/LTCupdate.pdf
This is all on the https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19 site.
Who would address and answer the questions concerning having a yard sale? Would it be the local health department or would I have to wait to hear it from the governor?
Yard sales are not presently approved. We will await guidance from the Governor’s Office.
What is the plan for business here in Russell to open up? Will HD monitor this?
The plan will follow the Governor’s Office Phased Guidance for re-opening. The Health Department will monitor business for non-compliance. Businesses can submit their plans to reopen at http://kycovid19.ky.gov
What is the plan for testing here in Russell? Will they be available for
everyone and when? Is this something that the Health Department will do?
COVID 19 tests are most accurate when performed on people who have symptoms of coronavirus infection. If one tests asymptomatic people there will be many false positive results. We are working on a program to provide testing kits to private medical providers, which would increase testing capacity dramatically in all our counties.
When will there be a test to see if members of the community have been exposed to the virus and have built up immunity? Will it be available locally? LabCorp now performs antibody testing for COVID 19- these test have an emergency approval by the FDA but have not been used extensively, hence not fully validated. They can be used to assess the community’s exposure and perhaps an individuals but as yet may not confirm long lasting immunity.
Is there any update on the individual from McCreary County who was refusing to self-isolate or get tested after coming in contact with someone with Covid-19? Is that individual now complying?
We have been in contact with the individual and gave them appropriate guidance.
With Gov. Beshear indicating that masks will be required wearing for those going out in public as things begin opening up again, will the health department play a role in enforcing that and making sure businesses and individuals comply?
Yes, the health department will monitor compliance with PPE requirements for each business type.
Signature said that employees who tested positive were not allowed to return to work without approval from the health department. There have been reports at a different Signature facility that employees returned to work after one week of no symptoms, but a negative test was not required. What standards have been required for approval by the health department for employees to return to work after testing positive or becoming ill?
At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as
• resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
• improvement in respiratory and other symptoms (e.g., cough,
shortness of breath, diarrhea); and,
• At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; this
was recently changed from 7 to 10 days.
• Recommended to include one negative COVID PCR.
It is not known if the RNA detected by PCR in the recovery phase
indicates viable virus or just bits of RNA. People can have positive
RNA/PCR tests well into their recovery, as reported in some research
articles, up to 3 weeks.
Signature’s release reports about the facility making the decision to test all residents, which is commendable. It also states they follow federal and state guidelines as far as PPE is concerned. Does the health department have a timeline of when PPE was used by all employees? It seems the unanswered question is whether proper steps were taken quickly enough or if a delay, perhaps in the availability of PPE or the decision to use certain items, may have had an impact on the large number of positive cases at Summit Manor. Do you know what procedures were put into place and when they were put into place?
Many individuals who contract the virus are asymptomatic, therefore, it impossible to know when the virus began in the facility. We know that Summit Manor and other LTC facilities in our district began restricting visitors following the Governor’s order on March 10th.
Signature has a hotline for specific questions/concerns 1-888-392-8886.
Are tests available in our counties?
Yes, all of our district counties have testing. Check with your local
healthcare provider to determine if they are doing testing. There is still a tiered approach to testing, so check with your provider to determine if you are eligible for testing.
Additional Links provided:
KDPH dashboard: https://kygeonet.maps.arcgis.com/apps…
CHFS website for COVID-19: https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19
Cases by county: https://www.lcdhd.org/info-tools/heal…