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 Governor Andy Beshear confirmed two new cases of coronavirus/COVID-19 Tuesday evening, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to eight.
Both new cases, a 60-year-old man and a 50-year-old woman, come out of Harrison County, bringing the total cases in the county up to five.
Beshear said there is a link between all Harrison County patients, but said he could not disclose that link at this time.
“It’s critical that we know that we will have more positive tests as we move forward, but that is to be expected,” Beshear said at a press conference Tuesday evening.
Beshear and Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack encourage Kentuckians to continue taking precautions such as frequent hand-washing, keeping a safe distance during social interactions and being careful when interacting with high-risk groups such as people over 60.
People in those high-risk groups should refrain from air travel, cruises or spending time in large crowds.
Those concerned about their own health can find more information about the Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 website, which updates regularly with the latest information about coronavirus in Kentucky. Anyone who wants to quickly speak to another person can call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-722-5725.
Kentucky's diagnosed coronavirus total as of Tuesday night was:
- Five cases in Harrison County
- Two cases in Fayette County
- One case in Jefferson County
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 email@example.com
- 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 45 countries 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, the CDC says.