LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The first death related to COVID-19 in Lexington has been confirmed, Mayor Linda Gorton and Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh reported Monday.
"We knew that this was an eventuality, that most communities are going to be affected by this with a fatality," Lexington-Fayette County Health Department spokesperson Kevin Hall said.
In a press conference Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear said it was an 82-year-old woman with underlying health issues.
“This is a sad day for our city and especially for the family and friends of this victim,” Mayor Gorton said. “Let’s all make sure our elderly neighbors are cared for and protected. And let’s do everything we can to slow down this virus.”
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department now believes that sustained person-to-person spread of COVID-19 is occurring in Lexington because not all new cases can be connected to previous cases or to travel outside of the community.
"What we're learning about COVID-19 today is different than what we'll know in two weeks and it's different from what we knew two months ago," Hall said. "It's something we're learning as we're going."
Although the number of cases is still low, cases are expected to increase.
"That first death is only the beginning, and sadly more people will die," Hall said. "So, take the steps to protect you and your family."
In order to slow the transmission of COVID-19, people should avoid any unnecessary contact with others and stay at home when sick.
COVID-19 is thought to be primarily spread through close contact with those who are infected.
The following social distancing tips should be followed:
• Stay at home as much as possible.
• Make sure you have access to medications and supplies in case you are advised to stay home.
• When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
• Avoid crowds.
The health department offered these tips to continue to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Practice social-distancing when at all possible.