Green River Health Department talks coronavirus in Daviess County

Local News

(WEHT) — As of March 25, Daviess County, Kentucky has the most cases of coronavirus in the Tri-State with 22.

Merritt Bates-Thomas with the Green River District Health Department joined Shelley Kirk to talk about the virus in the county. You can watch the interview above or read the transcription below.


Shelley Kirk: Today we heard of the case in the Owensboro Public Schools — we hear that person took part in distributing some meals to kids who are staying home- does this put other people at risk? What are you telling the public?

Merritt Bates-Thomas: Well Green River District Health Department is working with public schools to make contact and provide guidance and notify the contacts. The real guidance lies around all of us in the role we play in containing coronavirus. It’s important for us to stay home if we don’t need to be out, to avoid crowds, and to learn what social distance means. And that means that we need to be at least six feet apart. Even for those of us that are still working — we’re doing our best to model that social distancing in our everyday practices now.

Shelley: Do we know why Daviess County is so much higher that other counties? Are these cases connected in Daviess County? Is there any common denominator such as travel?

Merritt Bates-Thomas: You know, it’s really too early for us to tell. We’re seeing examples of community spread which we’ve heard across the country. And community spread just means that it’s increasing within a particular community. And around the community spread it’s really difficult to tell how widespread that is.

Shelley: When you say community spread, you’re talking about one person having contact with another and giving it to that person right?

Merritt Bates-Thomas: We’re talking about multiple people that are confirmed cases, yes. And we don’t know how widespread that is at this moment. We just know right now we have the 22 confirmed cases here in Daviess County. The new cases though aren’t surprising and as much as we don’t want to hear it, we actually expect to see more in the coming days.

Shelley: We know the Glenmore Distillery had a case and after cleaning over the weekend, workers there were back on the job — also O.Z. Tyler had a case and part of the facility continued to stay open. Especially in light of the high number of cases in Daviess County – is this sound practice? Should workers be tested and/or quarantined before bringing them back in? (Eyewitness News note- O.Z. Tyler told us after this story aired that a second employee tested positive for COVID-19.)

Merritt Bates-Thomas: Right, well every company that’s still in operation should be taking steps to sanitize the work areas and many are noting that they’re doing that between shifts or after a shift ends before workers come back in that next day. So that’s good practice.

Shelley: The president mentioned getting back to normal by Easter — your thoughts?

Merritt Bates-Thomas: It’s not our place to comment. Anything can happen in two and a half weeks.

Shelley: Are people doing enough following guidelines?

Merritt Bates-Thomas: If you haven’t been following the guidelines, it’s time to start now. That doesn’t mean that you’re protected by any means. If you’ve been out circulating around town, interacting with people, not practicing social distancing, you’re definitely at risk. All of us likely are at risk just because of the nature of the way we’re used to moving around, but it’s important that ALL — and that’s an all capital all — of us follow these guidelines. Stay at home as much as you can. Social distance. And avoid crowds. With the nice weather, it’s going to be difficult to practice the social distancing. I think all of us are going to want to get out an enjoy the nice weather but as much as possible we need to maintain those distances.

Shelley: Well alright we’ll keep that in mind. Merritt Bates-Thomas, thank you so much for joining us today and helping us understand the situation better and we’ll keep social distancing.

Merritt Bates-Thomas: Thank you.

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(This story was originally published on March 25, 2020)

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