As Kentucky grapples with four confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, officials in the western region of the state are preparing for an outbreak. No cases have yet been reported west of Jefferson County.
Baptist Health Paducah Chief Medical Officer Brad Housman said people should “assume” the virus will make its way to west Kentucky.
“Given our proximity to larger cities such as Nashville and St. Louis, we’re planning as if it is going to happen,” Housman said.
Housman said testing is available through the state health department. Tests are conducted when patients meet testing criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said these criteria change rapidly due to the continuing spread of the virus.
“We would have a discussion with the state health department to determine if that is an appropriate patient to then screen,” Housman said.
Housman said a coronavirus outbreak would be an extremely fluid situation, but healthcare providers are working closely with federal, state and local public health agencies to prepare.
“We’ll be prepared if and when we have folks that need to be screened and taken care of.”
Paducah city officials are also closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus.
“The COVID-19 situation changes daily, and I want the Paducah community to know that it is at the forefront of our internal conversations. The safety of our citizens is our highest priority,” said Paducah City Manager Jim Arndt in a release Monday.