There have been eight confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Kentucky, as of presstime Wednesday, but no cases have been confirmed in Pike County.

The Pike County Health Department is continuing its efforts to inform the community about staying calm, practicing good hygiene and taking health precautions — the most important steps people can take — in preparation for the event of a confirmed case in Pike County.

The Pike County Board of Health met Tuesday, and part of the meeting was spent discussing the situation report around what the Pike County Health Department has done so far to provide important health information to the public about the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We’ve been updated on the situation as much as possible because there’s constant updates coming out and new information coming out,” said Crystal Newsome, the Pike County Health Department’s

emergency response coordinator, during a presentation to the Board of Health Tuesday. “It’s been a very quick process.”

Newsome said the staff has attended weekly situational conference calls with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, attended situational update webinars/conference calls with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) and received daily situational reports to get statewide, national and international updates about the virus.

The Pike County Health Department, Newsome said, has provided CDC and KDPH planning and guidance documents to all nursing homes and health care providers, and it has increased social media posts specific to the COVID-19 situation in order to educate the public on proper hand-washing and provide necessary information about how to prevent the spread of the virus.

Newsome also said a letter has been drafted to send home with students in both the Pike County Schools District and the Pikeville Independent Schools District in order to inform parents about the virus, and letters and packets are being created to distribute at faith-based institutions in order to keep them informed.

“We’re trying to get those messages out there and we’re putting out as much information as we can on our social media,” Newsome said. “We’ve tried to put out as much information in the news as we can. We’re trying to use every avenue we can to get that message out there.”

One of the main ways that the Pike County Health Department plans to continue distributing its important health information to the public is by coordinating with many stakeholders in Pike County and organizations in order to unite behind a unified message about the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Pike County Health Department has coordinated with the University of Pikeville, Pikeville Medical Center, Pike County Board of Education, Emergency Medical Services, Pike County Emergency Management and many other organizations

“Right now, our most important step that we felt is getting that unified community message out to everybody,” Newsome said.

Pike County Public Health Director Tammy Riley said she was proud of everything the staff has done so far, and she said that they will continue their work to inform the community about how they can protect themselves.

“Everyone’s playing their role here, and they’re working very hard,” Riley said. “I’m really proud of everything the staff has done.”

As of presstime Wednesday, of the eight confirmed cases in Kentucky, five were confirmed in Harrison County, two cases were confirmed in Fayette County and one was confirmed in Jefferson County. The ages of the patients include 27, 46, 49, 54, 60, 67, 68 and 69.

Pike County Health Department’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 COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website at, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.

Visit the Kentucky Department of Public Health’s website for all up-to-date state information at, https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/pages/covid19.aspx.

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/.

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

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