Three western Kentucky counties enter red zone for COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus Watch

(WEHT) After months of declining COVID-19 cases across the country, some counties in the Tri-State are reentering their state’s respective red zones of cases. Among them are three western Kentucky counties.

“I’m sad that we are in the red zone again,” said Kay Mayes of Central City.

“I immediately became concerned,” added Crystal Chappell of Muhlenberg County.

That’s what some Muhlenberg County residents thought when their county, along with Hopkins and Webster Counties, entered the commonwealth’s red zone of more than 25 new cases per 100,000 people. They’re three of five counties across Kentucky in that zone. It comes as Hopkins County Health officials warns of the delta variant approaching the region, and reports of it in other nearby counties.

“I have a 93-year-old mom, and I am worried about her. She has been vaccinated, and she has had the disease. But at the same time, with this variant coming around, I am worried that she is still vulnerable,” Mayes says.

Clay Horton of the Green River District Health Department, which covers Webster County, says more than 90% of new cases are of those unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Hospitalizations are still low. But if cases keep going up, more counties could hit red.

“We’ve seen, kind of, accelerated spread in Webster County for a couple of months now. We’re also seeing elevated rated in Union and Henderson county now. Truly, in our entire region, the case rates are going up. They may not be the only county in the red in the near future,” Horton says.

In Indiana, Gibson County is one of three Indiana counties in the orange zone, a level below red. In Illinois, White, Wabash and Edwards Counties were three of 13 Illinois counties among those in that state’s warning level as of last week. Back in Kentucky, some are re-reaching for those masks they once put away.

“I was telling my husband yesterday, we’re gong to have to get those back out and start wearing them out of safety,” says Chappell.

Horton hopes more vaccinations can manage the spread, but recommends those still unvaccinated to keep wearing masks in public and socially distance.

(This story was originally published on July 16, 2021)

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