Calloway County sees increase in COVID-19 cases

(Cade Utterback/The News)

Daniella Tebib

News Editor

Following Memorial Day weekend, Calloway County has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases with a total of 77 cases, 62 recoveries, 13 isolations, one hospitalization and one death.

Jerry Penner, CEO of the Murray Calloway County Hospital, said the increase in positive tests is not because the amount of testing has increased.

“At one point, MCCH was testing 100 – 150 patients or more per day with few positive results,” Penner said. “More recently, MCCH is only testing 35 – 50 patients a day with a much higher positive rate than we have seen over the past three months.”

Penner said he is not surprised Calloway County is experiencing an increase in cases.

“This happens when an entire family may be positive or because people attended the same event, party or a barbeque, and someone at the gathering becomes symptomatic and tests positive,” Penner said.

MCCH is also experiencing a trend similar to what’s happening nationally. There has been an increase of younger people, ages from 19 to 36, who are testing positive.

Because of the increase, Penner said he is concerned about the impact it could have on the hospital. With the increase of cases, hospitalizations have also increased.

“Nationally, outbreaks in Tampa, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Houston have led to increased strain on Intensive Care Units at local hospitals as people have become more ‘social’ thinking the pandemic has slowed,” Penner said. “Just like in Arizona, California, Texas and Florida, the same impact could occur in Calloway County.”

Gov. Andy Beshear has also expressed concerns about the increase in cases nationally and what it could mean for Kentucky. As of press time, Kentucky has a total of 15,232 cases of COVID-19 while the country has a total of 2,652,320 cases.

“We see states in the South like Florida and Texas with rising cases and know it could happen here in Kentucky,” Beshear said. “It wasn’t anything magic that led us to our early success. It was us truly coming together as a people and showing that the lives of other Kentuckians is more important to us than anything.”

Ahead of Fourth of July weekend, Penner said the best advice for prevention is continuing to wear masks and social distance.

“Please wear a mask when you are out and seriously consider doing the same when you are concentrated indoors with many people especially as you look forward to spending a nice Fourth of July weekend with family and friends,” Penner said. “While COVID may not impact the younger people as greatly, it does create an issue when they mix company with our vulnerable elderly population.”