Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and health officials warn that the state is in a dangerous escalation of COVID-19.
They worry that some Kentuckians have “COVID-19 fatigue” and are becoming too casual about safety precautions, like wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding group gatherings.
WKU Public Radio Reporter Rhonda Miller spoke with Dr. William Travis, an internal medicine physician at Graves Gilbert Clinic in Glasgow. He said he’s seeing an increase in patients with COVID-19 symptoms and confirmed cases.
Dr. Travis: We’re seeing definitely an uptick in cases, as the state numbers demonstrate. In primary care offices we’re seeing that in the past two-to-three weeks in particular. We’ve had a pretty significant number of positives in cases we that were suspicious of COVID, running through families quite a bit, too.
Miller: What’s your sense of where they’re contracting COVID?
Dr. Travis: I think some in family gatherings, certainly. Some in other social circumstances, either stores or even funeral homes. I went to a funeral home yesterday and quite a few people were unmasked and in close contact. And as I was there, I was thinking, you know, this is not the best situation for people to be unmasked, in close contact, hugging and such as that.
Miller: I’m just wondering how you think people are handling this, or confronting it, or taking safety precautions, because I know that, you know, there are times when business owners or people out in stores, or whatever, would say masks are required and then you can go into the store and there are some people that don’t have a mask and they basically say we can’t force anyone to do that. And the governor said things are very grim now, so I’m just wondering what your perspective is on how the general public is dealing with this.
Dr. Travis: There’s some fatigue from the whole thing. But I believe that, hopefully, the numbers spiking will trigger people to take it more seriously again, and start masking and keeping their distance, as best one can, as the season changes. I think something that people need to understand is the spread is mainly through the air. And so, masks definitely decrease one’s chance of getting the virus. But also, if nothing else, masks decrease the chance of you getting extremely sick with the virus, because if you do get exposed, your exposure is going to be much less of an inoculum than if you were unmasked.
Miller: Do patients tell you where they think they contracted it?
Dr. Travis: I haven’t had a lot of specific testimonials of where people caught the virus. In fact, I have some who tell me, well, you know, I mask and I’ve done all this and I’m positive. But I can’t say that I’ve had a lot of specifics. I have had a few people who told me that they’ve been in restaurants in groups that were unmasked. One in particular is a gentleman who had a Saturday morning breakfast group who would meet at a restaurant and the gentlemen were unmasked and he felt certain that’s where he came in contact with it. One of those people turned up positive and he later turned up positive. So, that’s one anecdote. But really, for the most part, people can’t tell me specifically where they think they caught it unless it was a household contact.
Miller: Thank you so much for speaking with me, Dr. Travis
Dr. Travis: You’re welcome.