With the continued escalation of the COVID-19 virus here in Floyd county, a number of the county’s leaders addressed the public Nov. 12 as area hospitals are “near capacity.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 12, a live public service address was conducted at Prestonsburg City Hall, via Facebook live, regarding the continued escalation of the COVID-19 virus. The address featured Floyd County Judge-Executive Robbie Williams, Prestonburg Mayor Les Stapleton and Floyd County Health Director Thursa Sloan as they discussed the rise in positive COVID-19 cases here in Floyd County. Last month, Floyd saw its “worst” month regarding cases, Sloan said recently and so far, it looks as though November could be on the same track.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in our COVID-19 numbers,” Williams said. “Today we have 50 confirmed cases.”

The reason for the address, according to Williams, is due to officials being recently informed that area hospitals are nearly at capacity.

“We’re going to ask folks to do as much as they possibly can to stay at home and to not be out unless you absolutely have to,” Williams said. “We’ve had nearly 300 cases this month.”

Williams said the concern is that as cases increase, with hospitals in the area near capacity and central Kentucky hospitals over capacity, according to Williams, there won’t be enough beds to deal with the amount of COVID-19 patients.

Starting Nov. 13, Williams said, the Floyd County Court House will be closed until further notice. He added that hopefully it’s only for a few days, but “we have to get a handle on this as much as possible.”

According to Sloan, the already nearly 300 cases, just in November, is “huge escalation” from what was first being seen in April. As far as the county’s positivity rate, which she said the governor’s office was using for “red counties”, for the last seven days Floyd’s positivity rate was approximately 73.46.

Sloan said that with positivity rates such as that, Floyd is well past the mark to be within keeping schooling geared towards online instruction.

Sloan said that the health department is seeing positive cases trending in household and workplace environments.

“If one person in a workplace gets the virus, we’re seeing six employees, or about 50 percent, of them will get it,” Sloan said. “Same thing with families. I’ve seen households with as many as seven or eight get it, so it’s really scary when you look at those numbers.

“It’s not just scary it’s concerning,” she added.

According to Slone, people have done a good job staying within family units, however, with winter months here that strategy is not “working very well.”

Sloan also addressed the importance of quarantining and added that there’s a difference in quarantining and isolating. She added that if an individual tests positive, they need to find a room away from family members and stay there until their quarantine is up, or family members run a great risk of contracting the virus.

Sloan said that, with Thanksgiving coming up, the health department is going to be focusing on educating the public on what needs to be happening going forward, because due to the holiday, she expects a lot of issue to arise.

“We really got to try and educate people on how to try and have the safest Thanksgiving they’ve ever had because times are different and we’re living in a different age,” Sloan said.

Stapleton said that he didn’t have anything to add regarding Williams’ and Sloan’s comments.

“What it all boils down to is use common sense,” Stapleton said.” It’s that easy, use common sense.”

Stapleton did encourage everyone to use a mask and social distance if they have to be in a public setting.

“This is a problem we all have to deal with. We got to figure out how to do this and we’ll get through it,” Stapleton said. “Because we have a lot of smart people out there and they understand that there’s a problem and they’re going to work with us to fix it.”

He did add that the city’s administrative offices will be closed and if any individual meeds a license application or need to pay taxes in-person, they can call and set up an appointment where they can speak to someone, socially distanced. There will also be a secure dropbox located outside for individuals to use.

Sloan concluded the address stating that the health department has been informed regarding a possible vaccine ready for first responders, as early as December.

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