State and local health officials are urging Kentuckians not to travel outside the state in order to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, there were 248 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky. The only counties in Eastern Kentucky that have confirmed cases so far were Breathitt County and Martin County. The counties with the most cases so far include Jefferson, Fayette, Daviess, Harrison and Kenton.

Every state in the United States has confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there are many states that have reported more confirmed cases than Kentucky, including California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

No cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Pike County yet, but local health officials are still urging people in the county not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We recommend that individuals not travel outside of the state and to not travel unless it is absolutely necessary,” said Tammy Riley, Pike County’s Public Health Director. “We all know that we are healthier at home so the least amount of trips outside of our homes is beneficial.”

The Pike County Health Department, Riley said, is encouraging anyone who has traveled outside the state recently to areas with a high volume of confirmed cases to quarantine themselves and monitor themselves in order to prevent the possible spread of the virus.

“We encourage anyone who has traveled for spring break or for any other trip outside the state within the past two weeks to quarantine themselves and monitor themselves for 14 days,” Riley said. “It’s the socially responsible thing to do. It is socially irresponsible for anyone who has traveled outside the state to areas with a high volume of confirmed cases to return to your community without quarantining yourself.”

Gov. Andy Beshear also urged Kentuckians during his daily COVID-19 briefing Wednesday to not travel outside of the state for the next few weeks. For Kentuckians who have traveled from states with many more confirmed cases of the virus, like New York, within the last 14 days, he also urged them to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for several days. To areas that have a high volume of confirmed cases

“Kentuckians shouldn’t be traveling right now, not to New York, not anywhere else,” Beshear said. “They should be healthy at home. If you have been to New York in the past 14 days, please watch yourself very carefully and reduce your contacts even more.”

Beshear said Kentucky has its first case of someone going on spring break and testing positive for COVID-19 after returning. He and Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, urged Kentuckians not to travel for spring break. They recommended that Kentuckians who went on spring break around gatherings of other people that they should self-isolate when they return so they do not spread COVID-19.

“Don’t go on spring break,” Beshear said. “You are going to put your health, the health of your family and the health of those around you at risk.”

Reported COVID-19 illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, and symptoms — which include fever, cough and shortness of breath — may appear from two to 14 days after exposure. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness, according to the CDC.

Pike County’s Public Health Director Tammy Riley gave the following recommendations to help local residents protect themselves from the spread of the virus:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick, including through hugging, kissing and sharing cups or utensils.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Get your flu vaccination.

• Stay home when you are sick, except to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe. Consider telemedicine phone apps for non-emergency medical care.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects, like phones and door handles, and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

• Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask:

• Facemasks should only by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone with the virus in close settings.

• The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

For all up-to-date information on Kentucky COVID-19 cases, visit, kycovid19.ky.gov.

For the full list of Gov. Andy Beshear’s actions to address the spread of COVID-19, visit, governor.ky.gov/covid19.

For all up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website at, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.

The Pike County Health Department is located at 119 River Drive, and it can be reached at, (606) 437-5500, or online at, https://www.pikecountyhealth.com/v4i/.

Kentuckians can call the state’s COVID-19 hotline, 1-(800)722-5725, for questions or additional help.

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