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Pennyrile Government, Health Officials Prepare For Coronavirus Response

Liam Niemeyer

  Staff from regional hospitals, judge-executives and school district superintendents from across the Pennyrile region met Thursday in Lyon County to learn more about how to prepare for the Coronavirus.

Officials from the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented a webinar to local leaders, answering questions ranging from how contagious the coronavirus is and how quarantines of cases should be enforced. 

Pennyrile District Health Department Director Jim Tolley also addressed leaders with recommendations on next steps to contain the virus, including nursing homes restricting visitation, preparing for school closures, and hospitals reviewing plans to receive a spike of new patients. Gov. Andy Beshear called for all public and private K-12 schools to close for the next two weeks, and several schools districts in west Kentucky have complied.

“It is critical that healthcare providers and emergency responders take precaution...we need you to stay healthy as long as you can stay healthy and not be inflicted with this,” Tolley said. “If we get overwhelmed, we need you.”

Tolley also said facemasks from his department would be rationed only to emergency responders and healthcare providers because of the limited supply. Douglas James, chief nursing officer at Caldwell Medical Center in Princeton, said his center is already sharing information and medical resources with other healthcare providers in west Kentucky.

“We want to have each other’s back, obviously, and just to realize we’re all in this together. We’re trying to combat this as a group,” James said.

The Pennyrile District Health Department has health centers in Caldwell, Crittenden, Lyon, Livingston, and Trigg counties. The Kentucky Department of Public Health is providing continual updates online.


"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."
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