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COVID-19 Update, March 9, 2020 from Lexington-Fayette County Health Department Commissioner

Lexington physicians:

Kentucky’s first presumptive COVID-19 case has been identified in a Fayette County resident and two other cases have been recognized in Harrison County.  We expect to see additional cases of COVID-19 in the community.  At this time, the health department’s message to the public is 1) stay at home if you are sick and can manage your illness at home  or 2) if sick enough to seek medical care, contact your healthcare professional or access your healthcare professional via telehealth systems.  Data from China indicate that the majority of cases can be managed at home.  However, the disease has a higher mortality rate than seasonal influenza and appears to be more likely to cause severe illness and death in seniors and those who have chronic health conditions. We are asking older residents to avoid crowds and be prepared in stay home if advised:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html  You can assist by helping older adults and those with chronic illnesses to have an extra supply of their routine medications on hand, in case they need to be at home for an extended period of time.

Testing for COVID-19  is available at the state public health laboratory in Frankfort through the Kentucky Department for Public Health.  Guidance concerning who should be considered for testing can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html Clinicians should consider other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza, which is still circulating in Central Kentucky. Testing from national commercial laboratories is beginning to hit the market and so should be more widely available soon.  Testing should be done under controlled conditions using appropriate PPE: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/lab/guidelines-clinical-specimens.html and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/infection-control/control-recommendations.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fhcp%2Finfection-control.html

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department (LFCHD) can assist healthcare providers with decision-making and be a liaison with the state health department in the testing process for COVID-19. To contact LFCHD, clinicians can call our provider-only line: 859-335-7071.  Information for the general public, including a one-page flyer, is available in both English and Spanish at www.lfchd.org   

Kraig E. Humbaugh, MD, MPH

Commissioner | Lexington-Fayette County Health Department
650 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40508
859-288-2484 | Fax: 859-288-2359 |
kraig.humbaugh@lfchd.org
www.lfchd.org