Hopkins County Officials Plead With Community To “Stay Home”
Hopkins County officials repeatedly begged during Thursday’s online update for their community members to “stay home” as the number of confirmed cases and deaths related to COVID-19 continue to increase. According to the latest numbers, Hopkins County is third in the commonwealth behind much larger Jefferson County and Fayette County.
Hopkins County Health Department Director Denise Beach said the county added four new confirmed cases Wednesday, bringing the total to 77. She said Gov. Andy Beshear announced 19 new cases during his daily update, but said those numbers are from earlier in the week. She said he doesn’t get his numbers “in real time,” which is what causes the confusion.
Beach said as of Thursday morning, six residents of Hopkins County have died as a result of the coronavirus. Two of those deaths, she said, were reported Wednesday night, and both were senior adults.
She said her department believes the continued increase is still the result of prior weeks when people in the community were not properly social distancing, and she hopes to see a decrease next week as a result of better social distancing practices.
Each of the Hopkins County cases, Beach said, can be tied back to social gathering and even though it’s Easter weekend people need to heed the guidelines of social distancing and personal hygiene. She also issued a reminder funerals are allowed a maximum of 10 close family members who must still maintain six feet of distance. She suggested holding the larger funeral ceremonies via live stream, or postponing until a later date.
“We understand this is so hard on families but we don’t want any more deaths related to COVID-19,” she added.
Beach also reported 27 of the Hopkins Countians who tested positive for COVID-19, are reporting “fully recovered.”
Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton said he ran for office on the principle of elevating local businesses and never imagined he would be in a position to beg people to stay at home in order to protect lives. But he did, repeatedly, during the update saying the continued social gatherings are killing people.
“My heart breaks that this community is elevating numbers of a disease that’s killing people. Businesses are struggling, people are dying, citizens are scared, and still we have some of you that aren’t listening to our plea to stay home,” he said. “If you’re thinking about having a social gathering of any type, I beg you at this point to consider those around you being here for Christmas.”
Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield said even when the community starts to see a downtick of the curve in numbers of cases, that doesn’t mean it’s time to “take our foot off the break and stomp on the gas.”
“We know a high percentage of people will recover from this but not everybody, and that’s why we have got to maintain our discipline and our distance and our hygiene,” he added.
Whitfield and Cotton applauded local stores enforcing the governor’s latest order to limit the number of people in stores at one time and the number of people per family who are shopping. One question from a community member specifically addressed Rural King’s new shopping cart rule, saying if there were no shopping carts available -- even if the next shopper in line didn’t need the cart -- no one was allowed to enter until a cart became available.
“They have that rule in place because it’s the right thing to do,” Whitfield said.
He explained stores have put out a specific number of shopping carts, and that number is based on how many customers their stores can safely serve at one time. He said that is why stores stop allowing people inside at a certain number. He also applauded stores who are actively wiping down the carts in between each customer.
Cotton asked the community to be cooperative, polite and understanding, as these measures are being put in place for everyone’s safety.
Cotton and Whitfield asked organizations in Hopkins County who are providing food or other supplies to call 270-825-5013 and contribute their information for a database that will be used to connect Hopkins Countians with the assistance they need.
They also announced the launch of a new website that’s specific to COVID-19 data in Hopkins County.