Why is Lexington seeing COVID numbers increase while the rest of Kentucky levels off?

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 11:21 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear says COVID cases are beginning to plateau in Kentucky, but, in Lexington, the numbers are still going up.

Health officials say there are a few reasons the numbers in Lexington could be rising, while the rest of the state is leveling off.

The health department reported 84 new COVID cases from Thursday. Those numbers have been consistently high in August.

Kevin Hall, the spokesperson for the health department, tells us there could be a few factors. First, the city is a hub for Central Kentucky. We have people coming in for work, entertainment, eating.

They’re asking people, no matter where they’re coming from if they live in Lexington or any of the surrounding areas to follow the guidelines. Including wearing a mask.

They’re also seeing more spread among family members who don’t live in the same house. People who had been staying apart are now getting together for cookouts and to visit.

“So, if grandma and grandpa are visiting and they don’t live in your house, keep doing the same thing you were doing as if strangers were coming over,” Hall said.

Finally, some of those numbers are students who are getting tested through the University of Kentucky. If they live in Fayette County or are quarantined on campus, they’ll be counted.

“Those numbers are still an accurate reflection of what’s in Lexington,” Hall said. “Because students are part of the community. They are going to our restaurants, they are going to our stores, they are interacting with people on a regular basis. So, even though they are a separate piece, so to speak, they’re still very much at risk of spreading those to others in the community at large.”

But not all the numbers from UK will be counted in Lexington.

Students who commute from another county, or return home to quarantine will report to the health department where they live.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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