FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Coronavirus tests and contact tracing will be ramping up in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear stated on Monday.
An expanded seven-month program for contact tracing will help keep infected people safe and help prevent them from spreading the virus, says Mark Carter, who was appointed executive director for the program.
Contact tracing will be done through two groups of workers: health investigators and tracers.
Health officials say investigators will contact anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus and ask them about their recent whereabouts.
Investigators will then take the contacts from the person with a positive test and reach out to those people they came across.
According to the health officials, these investigators will do daily phone call updates with these people until their exposure timeline expires.
Gov. Beshear says all info collected during the contact tracing program period will stay private.
Executive Director Carter says an individual’s role in the contact tracing program is:
- Be aware that you may be contacted by a public health worker to gather information
- Understand the importance of this process, answer these calls, and follow instructions provided
- Spread the word in your communities
- Be on the look-out to share communications from kycovid19.ky.gov and Gov. Beshear’s social media
“Team Kentucky needs you – answer the call if a public health worker contacts you," Gov. Beshear stated. "Contact tracing is key to protecting the health of our communities as we begin to reopen our economy. We are relying on more testing combined with increased contact tracing and for everyone to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Around 700 people will be hired for the contact tracing program, says Dr. Steven Stack with the Kentucky Department of Public Health.
As part of the expanding testing in the state, all residents and staff at 23 of Kentucky’s long-term care facilities will also receive coronavirus tests this week.
According to Dr. Stack, nearly 3,000 tests will be done in the first two days at these 23 facilities.
Almost a week later on May 18, the governor said two more people had since been diagnosed with the same issue.
The latest cases of this inflammatory syndrome include a 5-year-old, who is now back home, and an 11-year-old, who remains hospitalized, the governor said Monday.
Symptoms of this syndrome found in most children include:
- Fever greater than 110.4 degrees, lasting for several days
- Irritability or decreased activity
- Abdominal pain without another explanation
- Conjunctivitis (red or pink eyes)
- Poor feeding
- Red, cracked lips, bumpy tongues that looks like a strawberry
- Swollen hands and feet, which might also be red
Gov. Beshear announced on that day a 10-year-old in the state was hospitalized because of this.
That 10-year-old remains hospitalized, the governor announced on Monday.
Gov. Beshear reported Monday the state now has a total of 7,935 coronavirus cases.
This overall total included 122 reported cases on Sunday and 138 on Monday.
Monday’s coronavirus update from the Northern Kentucky Health Department shows an additional 20 new cases in the area.
Here is the county-by-county breakdown of total cases in Northern Kentucky, according to the health department:
- Boone County - 351 cases
- Campbell County - 128 cases
- Grant County - 32 cases
- Kenton County - 441 cases
NKY Health’s update on Monday also shows four more coronavirus related deaths in the area.
Two of the four were Kenton County residents in their 80s, while the other two were Boone County residents in their 80s and 90s.
Malls in the state will be allowed to reopen on May 20, Gov. Beshear announced Monday.
But for them to reopen they must meet the retail requirements of limiting max capacity to 33% and follow cleaning requirements.
The governor says anything with a food court in it must also follow the same regulations given to restaurants.