Knox, Clay counties on White House COVID-19 ‘red list'

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 11:34 AM EDT
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CLAY CO., Ky. (WKYT) - COVID-19 continues to impact some communities more than others.

Tuesday, the governor said there are certain “red counties” with positivity rates that are above 10 percent. One of those is Clay County:

There have been more than 200 cases of COVID 19 in clay county and there are currently more than 20 active cases.

“I tested negative last week after more than 28 days of being positive,” Karen Lawson said.

Lawson is among the people who tested positive in the month of July. She and nearly all of her entire family are feeling better, but they remain concerned.

“It worries me about the future effect on my family,” Lawson said. “What the unknowns are at this point, especially a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old.”

Those grandkids, along with her husband, her daughter and son-in-law were all positive.

“Just having 10 people at your house doesn’t make you safe,” she said.

Lawson is among a recent spike in Clay County cases, so much that the state says it is exceeding a 10% positivity rate.

Health Dept. Director Christie Green says there is a good reason why the positive rate has skewed higher.

Green says they have had a number of clusters locally, some from travel, some from church or revival services, where numerous tested positive.

She says cases do seem to be on the rise and the virus can move quickly through a large group of people, especially for those who meet together, don’t social distance and don’t wear masks.

Green says one of the big reasons for the higher positivity rate is because of cases at the federal prison.

“At Manchester FCI (Federal Correction Institution) they have been very careful to control cases. To isolate those who have been exposed and are positive,” Green said. “However, when they run tests on that unit, we are getting high positivity rates.”

Green says she does believe most people in this community are taking it seriously, but in a small community, it only takes a few clusters to spike up rates. For example, a recent revival with no precautions resulted in more than 30 positive results and two deaths.

“A church revival ultimately contributed to 32 cases and two deaths,” Green said.

Clay County has had more than 230 total cases since the first case last spring.

Nearby Knox County was also listed as having a greater than 10 percent positivity rate.

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