NKY Health: 66-year-old Kenton County woman tests positive for COVID-19

Governor announces 5 new cases statewide
Andy Beshear
Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 22:14:05-04

Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed Wednesday that one person has tested positive for COVID-19 in Kenton County. It is the first confirmed case of the virus in the Northern Kentucky region.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department said the individual is a 66-year-old woman currently in isolation at St. Elizabeth Hospital at Ft. Thomas.

“I have confidence in our local healthcare providers and first responders to help guide us through these events. Most of all, I have confidence that the people of our community will do what’s right and necessary and will work to keep everyone safe as we navigate this challenge” said Kenton County Judge Executive Kris Knochelman in a press release. “It’s what Kenton Countians have always done, and it’s what we’ll do in this case. Let’s take care of each other.”

Northern Kentucky and Kenton County Health department are taking every measure to protect the health of the community.

At a press conference Wednesday, Beshear announced five new cases in the state, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Kentucky to 35.

Watch Beshear's Wednesday press conference in the player below:

Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:


  • Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
  • See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.


  • State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
  • See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.


  • SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail
  • See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.

What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms, but it can be spread even at asymptomatic stages.