Pike County Public Health Director Tammy Riley provided an update on the county’s COVID-19 cases, including number of active cases, notable trends and recent increases, during the Pike County Board of Health meeting on Sept. 8.
Pike County’s total number of COVID-19 cases is 361 so far, as of presstime Sept. 10. Of the 361 total cases, 35 cases are considered active, 323 patients have recovered and three people have died from the virus so far. Four active cases are hospitalized, and all others are recovering from home, as of PCHD’s latest update on Sept. 9.
Riley provided a COVID-19 update to board members, and she said that the number of people who have recovered from the virus in the county has proven more positive than she initially expected in March, when Pike County’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed by the PCHD. At the time of the Sept. 8 Board of Health meeting, the county’s total number of cases was at 353.
“We’ve had 323 out of 353 people recover,” Riley said on Sept. 8. “That’s really good news. I would have never imagined our mortality rate would be as low as it is when this all started. Everything you looked at on paper, everything an expert would have told you early on is that a rural area with a co-morbidity scenario like we have, that our mortality rate would be much higher. Our outcomes have been much better than I would have ever anticipated.”
While giving the update on COVID-19 cases, she described the trends of case spikes and decreases throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, since the county’s first confirmed case on March 30. The first most notable increase, Riley explained, in Pike County’s cases came following the July 4 holiday weekend, when cases increased from 19 cases on July 6 to 51 cases by the week of July 20.
Riley added that the county’s number of cases declined in the weeks following the mask mandate issued by Gov. Andy Beshear on July 10. Pike County’s cases went from 51 total cases in the week of July 20 to 19 cases by Aug. 10. During the week of Aug. 24, the county’s cases decreased to 10 in total.
However, Riley explained that within one week, the number of active cases spiked again, from 10 to 31 in total by the week of Aug. 31.
Riley said the recent spike in cases is likely the result of people relaxing their behaviors over time as schools reopen and students return to college.
“Now people are relaxing their behaviors again,” Riley said, describing the recent spike in cases. “We’re seeing the numbers increase.”
In her update, Riley said that she provides a weekly update to local and state public officials, including state Sen. Phillip Wheeler, Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones and Coal Run City Mayor Andrew Scott, on Pike County’s current number of hospitalizations, Intensive Care Unit capacity, ventilator capacity, per 100,000 case rates, the positivity rate and a seven-day rolling average.
Riley said she particularly pays attention to the daily incidence rate and positivity rate for Pike County. The daily incidence rate pertains to the number of daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The positivity rate, also known as percent positive, pertains to the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive. It helps public health officials understand the virus’ current level of transmission in a community and if enough testing is being done, according to John Hopkins University.
“This past week, they have both shot up on us,” Riley said, referring to the county’s daily incidence rate and positivity rate. “First Care Urgent Care and that Sofia 2 Antigen test is driving most of our numbers right now. Our overall positivity rate is at 1.1 percent, but this past week, it was at about 2 percent.”
Pike County’s COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in all age demographics, from 0-19 years-old to 90s. However, as of presstime Sept. 10, more cases have been reported in the demographics of 20s (65 cases), 50s (62 cases), 0-19 years-old (57 cases), 40s (55 cases) and 30s (43 cases).
Of the total cases, 38 cases have been reported in people in their 60s, 30 in people in their 70s and nine in people in their 80s. Two cases have been reported in people in their 90s.
Of the total cases so far, 53 percent of cases have been reported in females (192 cases), while 47 percent of cases have been reported in men (169 cases). 72 percent of Pike County’s patients reported showing symptoms upon being tested for COVID-19, while 28 percent were asymptomatic, or showed symptoms upon being tested, as of presstime Sept. 10.
Symptoms for COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of the reported symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Although older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions, like heart or lung disease or diabetes, seem to be at a higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19, anyone at any age can contract the virus.
According to the CDC, the primary ways to protect against contracting or spreading the virus is to do frequent hand washing, maintain social distancing (keeping six feet apart from others) and wearing a face mask or facial covering when around others.
The Pikeville Medical Center and the Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center are providing drive-through COVID-19 testing for anyone wishing to get tested. PMC testing is available from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. across from the McDonald’s located at 101 Baird Avenue, and ARH testing is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 260 Hospital Drive in South Williamson.
The Pike County Health Department is located at 119 River Drive, and it can be reached at, (606) 437-5500. For more information, visit, www.pikecountyhealth.com.
As of Sept. 9, in Kentucky, there have been 53,977 total positive cases of COVID-19 and 1,013 deaths. 937,153 Kentuckians have been tested for the virus so far, and 10,725 people have recovered. The state’s positivity rate is 3.84 percent.
For more information on Kentucky’s response to COVID-19, including statewide testing locations and other resources, visit, www.kycovid19.ky.gov.