Webster County now reporting 7 cases of COVID-19

With the total number of positive tests for the Coronarvirus in Webster County now rising to seven, the Journal-Enterprise has learned from the Green River District Health Department which (GRDHD) which communities in the countyhave officially been impacted.

“There are lab confirmed cases with addresses in Sebree, Dixon, and Providence,” said Clayton Horton, Public Health Director for GRDHD. “We will not be able to provide any information to that which can possibly  be linked to any one individual case to protect their privacy.”

Horton continued to stress that while that information could give some mental relief to residents in areas that haven’t yet had a positive, they shouldn’t let it give them a false sense of security.

“Lab confirmed cases only represent a sample of cases that are in the community,” he said. “Everyone should assume it is in their own back yard, because it could be. And it takes up to two weeks before we know.”

He added that according to data from the CDC and other leading health agencies, the number of actual cases his most likely much higher than the number that has been tested.

“From the literature we’re reading, you can multiply the number of confirmed cases by 10 to 50 times to get the actual number of cases in your county,” Horton said.

With six positive tests in the county, that would mean anywhere from 60 to 300 untested cases are out there.

While he said most infected individuals are showing signs of infection between days six and eight, Horton explained that the  virus can take up to 14 days to show itself in an infected person. Getting in to see a doctor, being tested for COVID-19 and getting the results back can take up to another week, leaving a very broad window in which the virus can be spread.

In some cases, infected individuals have reported showing no symptoms at all. The CDC has reported that studies have shown more than 25 percent of COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic, meaning they have no symptoms at all and might not even know they are sick.

A local nurse reached out to the J-E earlier this week and reported that despite having tested positive for the Coronavirus, she was not presenting with any symptoms. In fact, she says she was in the middle of a five mile run when the hospital called with her test results.

“I think people are really thinking that this is only affected people severely,” Lisa Virgin told the J-E via a phone interview. “Some cases are very bad. But I feel great. I feel like I could go out on another five mile run right now.”

Virgin has since self quarantined at home, but stressed that people need to be mindful of their exposure, as well as their social distancing.

“I see a lot of people getting out with friends and family in groups, going fishing or going hiking,” she said. “I’m glad people are getting to do stuff they haven’t done in years and spending time together, but they need to keep in mind that just because they feel fine doesn’t mean that they are. I could have been out doing that stuff too, and I have COVID. And I never would have thought it.”

Wednesday night, governor Andy Beshear issued the latest in a series of executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. This one limits the number of members of a house hold that can be a store at the same time, a move that went into effect in Hopkins County over the weekend and in Providence on Tuesday afternoon.

“This helps us in a lot of ways,” said La Tasha Buckner, the Governor’s general counsel. “First it’s going to help you and the businesses practice good social distancing, if there’s less people in there,” she said. “It’s also going to help your families stay safer because you have less people going into the stores and becoming potentially exposed. It’s going to help you stay safer and the employees of the business.”

With a two to three week window from infection to positive test result for most cases, the results of any changes being enacted today won’t be seen until at least April 23 to April 30.

“The next two weeks are very critical,” said Horton. “I know people have heard it over and over, but we all have to do our best to maintain social distancing and not congregate in large groups. People need to take that to heart. Its hard to convey that when you just have a few cases.”

 

Reach MATT HUGHES

 at 270-667-2068 or 

matt@journalenterprise.com