A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Health News: COVID-19 roundup — stay cautious, going to the beach?, voting, and more…

Gov. Andy Beshear reported Saturday that there were 183 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky and 2 new deaths, bringing Kentucky’s totals to 13,630 cases and 524 deaths.

Kentucky Health News provides a round-up of other COVID-19 news:

WYMT-TV of Hazard reports on cases in Eastern Kentucky, following up on reports early in the week about increases in some counties.

Health officials warn that the novel coronavirus is still circulating, even as the state eases into reopening, and that public health precautions — like hand hygiene, wearing masks and social distancing — must be taken seriously or Kentucky will risk another shutdown, Deborah Yetter reports for the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Dr. Forest Arnold, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of Louisville, told Yetter, “I think a partial reopening can work and be successful if people would be serious about wearing masks and washing their hands and cleaning up after themselves. Occasionally, I go to the store and see a lot of people doing that and a handful of people not doing that. A handful of people not doing that is all it takes.”

Results of the first phase of U of L’s Co-Immunity Project in Louisville shows that preventive measures thwarted most transmission of the virus among health-care workers, says a U of L news release. The researchers tested 1,372 health workers and found that two had an active infection and 14 tested positive for antibodies, suggesting they had been exposed to the virus.

“This is good news,” said Assistant Professor of Medicine Rachel Keith, who conducted the study. “It shows that the precautionary measures adopted by our hospitals are working, and that patients seeking care in our hospitals are at a low risk of being infected by their health-care providers.” She said the results show that with proper social distancing and personal protective equipment, “We can minimize the threat posed by the virus to our health-care community.” 

National Cancer Institute Director Ned Sharpless offered a “conservative” estimate of 10,000 additional deaths from breast and colorectal cancers over the next 10 years due to coronavirus-caused postponements in diagnosis and care, The Washington Post reports.
Wondering how to stay safe at the beach during the pandemic? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidance that largely mimics the same advice for most activities: social distancing, wear a mask during close contact, and wash your hands.

“A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky’s most populous counties will not have more than one polling location during the upcoming primary elections,” Ryland Barton reports for WFPL. U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson wrote: “Comprehensive plans were put in place which included making absentee ballots available for all voters, providing early in-person voting options for 15 days leading up to Election Day, and establishing a polling place for Election Day in-person voting. This Triple Crown of voting options wins against the pandemic’s risk of disenfranchising the Kentucky voter.” 

As of 8 a.m. Friday, the unofficial U.S. coronavirus toll had reached 2,191,200 cases and 118,435 deaths, up about 28,000 and 720 from the day before, according to the MedPage Today real-time tracker.
Politico reports on the rising coronavirus cases among Latinos, reporting that Latinos age 25 to 54 have a COVID-19 death rate at least five times greater than white people. In Kentucky, 17.21 percent of the coronavirus cases have been in the Hispanic population, along with 4.08 percent of death, as of June 18. The daily report is not broken down by age. The Hispanic and Latino population in Kentucky is 3.8 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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