Pike County officials said in a press conference Thursday that two more cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 have been confirmed in the county and asked that people “dig in” so the community can have the best outcomes possible.

Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones said during the press conference, held at the Pike County Fiscal Courtroom, that there are two more cases of the virus confirmed in Pike County, bringing the total to three. However, he said, the low number of cases shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that the community is immune to the virus.

“We know definitively we are lagging behind the rest of the state,” he said. “If you think it’s not going to happen to Eastern Kentucky, you are wrong. This is just the beginning.”

Jones said that, while many are complying with social distancing measures, some are not, and that may ultimately result in more stringent rules being put into place if the public does not respond. One example he cited was that the county received information that an Easter egg hunt is being planned to be held at Fishtrap this weekend. That, he said, cannot happen.

Dr. Fadi Al Akhrass, medical director of infectious diseases and infection control at Pikeville Medical Center, said the second case is a 69-year-old male. The first diagnosed case, officials said, was an employee at PMC. The second case, he said, is not a PMC employee.

Al Akhrass said the first person diagnosed is convalescing well, and the second case diagnosed at PMC has been sent home and is not showing critical signs. Jones said the third case of a Pike County resident having COVID-19 was diagnosed at Tug Valley ARH Medical Center.

Tim Hatfield, community CEO at Highlands ARH Medical Center, said the case diagnosed at ARH is a 78-year-old female and she is recuperating.

Al Akhrass said PMC has had 82 negative cases tested so far.

Al Akhrass said the “rural surge” has not come yet and is lagging about three to five weeks behind areas such as New York and California.

During the press conference, Pike County Public Health Director Tammy Riley said that, with the county’s bad health outcomes and rankings, COVID-19 could have devastating impacts.

“Dig in, listen, be willing to endure ... so our community has the best outcomes,” she said.

For more on press conference, check out Friday’s News-Express in print and online for the full story.

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