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No Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Kentucky, But Officials 'Closely Monitoring'

AP Photo/Steven Senne

Over 100 people in the commonwealth have been asked to self-monitor for coronavirus symptoms "out of an abundance of caution," but so far only one has been tested for the illness and the results were negative. While experts say the immediate risk in the commonwealth is low, they are strongly recommending that residents take routine precautions to lower the chances of an outbreak in Kentucky. 

In recent weeks, the state Department of Public Health has been paying the closest attention to return travelers from China, the majority of whom have already passed a 14-day window. They have been asked to self-isolate, avoid public gatherings, and report their temperatures daily. Only one person showed symptoms and has since tested negative for COVID-19. The state is not currently tracking recent trevelers to countries out side of China where the virus has spread.

For the time being the state is reporting no persons under investigation or PUIs — those are individuals, some with additional risk factors, thought to have had direct contact with the virus and potentially contracted it.

In the meantime, Kentucky officials are working to set up a testing facility in the state. Currently any samples from individuals suspected of infection would be sent to the Centers for Disease Control for testing with an estimated wait time of 24 hours.

Asked if the state has any preparations in place, such as quarantine locations, in the event healthcare facilities are overwhelmed, Gov. Andy Beshear said he believes "what we are setting up on the preventative side is going to ensure that we don't have the type of widespread outbreak that would require those types of resources, but our goal is to be ready for everything."

Despite mixed reviews of the federal government's response, the governor had no criticisms of the communication between his office, state health leaders, and the administration.

According to state health experts, the best precautions remain: regular handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding contact between your eyes, nose, and mouth; getting a flu shot; covering your mouth with your arm or a tissue when sneezing; disinfecting frequently-used surfaces; and staying home when you are sick.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.