coronavirus

TN Dept. of Health via Twitter

Pandemic modeling from Vanderbilt University finds Tennessee was able to drive down the COVID-19 transmission rate well ahead of the initial projections made on April 10. As a result, the number of people simultaneously hospitalized has plateaued below 300 statewide.

A month ago, even if the state made “continued progress” to slow the spread of the virus, concurrent hospitalizations would have at least hit 1,200 by mid-May. But Vanderbilt modelers say the state started slowing the spread of COVID-19 a month earlier than expected, meaning that on average not every person with a positive case was getting at least one other person sick.

States are beginning to receive cases of an experimental COVID-19 drug that the Food and Drug Administration authorized for emergency use on May 1.

But the distribution process so far has puzzled some hospitals and states about why they've been left empty-handed.

Becca Schimmel

Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are making progress on unemployment claims filed in March as states begin a phased-in reopening. 

New unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region.

 

At least 125,459 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That surge in claims is in addition to the more than two million unemployment assistance applications people in the Ohio Valley made since mid-March. 

Kentucky Department of Corrections

The number of COVID-19 cases in Muhlenberg County has spiked suddenly, following the recent mass testing at a state prison in Central City.

The Muhlenberg County Health Department reports 467 cases of COVID-19.

The total includes confirmed cases in the community, and at the Green Rive Correctional Complex, a state prison in Central City that can house close to 1,000 men. 

Alma Fink is nursing supervisor for the Muhlenberg County Health Department.

“The spike was reported suddenly because as the tests were done over the period of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of that week, they were sent to Gravity labs to be finalized, and those results started flowing in a couple of days after the tests were run," said Fink.


City of Bowling Green

Warren County has become a hot spot for COVID-19 at the same time the state is working on a phased-in reopening of the economy. The county has 709 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday evening.

The Bowling Green coronavirus task force believes there are a couple of reasons for the increase. Warren County is administering more coronavirus tests, and it has increased locations for the screening of the virus. Brian “Slim” Nash is a Bowling Green City Commissioner and member of the local coronavirus task force.


Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky is racing to mount widespread testing and contact tracing to manage the spread of the coronavirus with little more than a week left before restaurants reopen their dining rooms.

To date, the state has conducted more than 100,000 tests. Gov. Andy Beshear said there will be enough weekly testing in May to meet a White House official’s recommendation that states test at least 2% of the population per month.

But it’s not enough to know who is testing positive. That’s where contact tracing comes in. Contact tracing is the systematic identification of everyone who might have been exposed to a person with COVID-19.

medcenterhealth.org

A southern Kentucky physician who has helped shape the local response to the coronavirus has tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Rebecca Shadowen, an infectious disease expert at Med Center Health in Bowling Green, released a statement through the health care group saying she tested positive for the virus Tuesday.

She said she doesn’t think she contracted the virus while working at the hospital, but instead came in contact with an elderly family member who was exposed to an infected caregiver.

Liam Niemeyer, Zoom screenshot

It’s the uncertainty that gets to Darlene Davis. The uncertainty of when she’ll see her 87-year-old mother in person again. The uncertainty of her co-workers’ health. The uncertainty that comes with the novel coronavirus.  

When a co-worker of hers at the JBS Swift meatpacking plant in Louisville died from COVID-19, she said that uncertainty turned into fear for many of the 1,200 employees at the plant. The Louisville Metro Health Department was made aware of the death on April 4. 


The U.S. has the most coronavirus deaths of any country in the world — on May 11, the death toll passed 80,000.

And that's likely an undercount.

Arts for All Kentucky

A nonprofit group that sends artists into Kentucky classrooms is adapting to the reality of schools being closed because of COVID-19.

The arts inclusion program has transitioned to 'virtual learning' and is available to anyone who wants to expand their creative skills.

Arts for All Kentucky works with about a dozen artists who bring music, drawing, painting, quilting and other creative experiences into classrooms.

The activities are developed with the priority of engaging those with disabilities, but the classroom experience includes all students.

J. Tyler Franklin

A second child has been hospitalized in Kentucky with a rare coronarvirus-related inflammatory disease, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday. During his daily briefing,  Beshear said that the patient is 16 years old, and has been hospitalized out of an abundance of caution. The first Kentucky child to be diagnosed with the syndrome, a 10-year-old, is still in critical condition on a ventilator.

“For these individuals that have this, this is very dangerous and life-threatening,” Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack said.

 


Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had sharp words for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, during Tuesday's Senate committee hearing on the coronavirus.

In arguing for reopening the economy and schools, Paul said, "As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don't think you're the end-all. I don't think you're the one person who gets to make a decision."

Paul pointed to the mortality rate in New York City of young people up to age 18, which he said was near zero — much lower than for older people.

Michelle Hanks

It will likely take until September for University of Louisville Health to catch up on a backlog of elective procedures after they were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

University officials plan to begin performing non-emergency surgeries and procedures at about half the capacity it did before the pandemic starting on Wednesday.

“If we go back to more normal volumes beginning in June, we think it’s probably going to take us till about September to really get caught up on everything because we’d have a more normal schedule plus catching up on that volume moving forward,” said Chief Medical Officer Jason Smith.

 


Updated at 4:11 p.m. ET

House Democrats are moving full steam ahead with legislation to provide a new wave of coronavirus relief at a price tag of more than $3 trillion, with plans to call the full House back on Friday to approve it.

Becca Schimmel | WKU Public Radio

A Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky is criticizing Republican Mitch McConnell for allegedly trying to defund a federal program that detects and curbs the spread of infectious diseases.

Amy McGrath is one of 10 Democrats seeking her party’s nomination for the Senate seat held by McConnell.

The New Yorker recently reported that in 2017, McConnell pushed an amendment that would have ended funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

McGrath also blames McConnell for decreased funding for important public health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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