(English and en español) COVID-19 cases increasing in Lexington’s Hispanic communities

UPDATED June 22, 2020 – COVID-19 continues to spread in Lexington, with cases increasing among the city’s Hispanic population. Of the 1,284 total cases, 322 (25 percent) identify as Hispanic, a group that makes up 7 percent of Lexington’s population.

“COVID-19 cases have been steadily rising throughout Lexington for the past 4-5 weeks,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh. “This most recent wave of cases includes an increase in affected residents who self-identify as Hispanic. The health department will continue to work with members of this community and city officials on prevention and disease control information, including messages in Spanish for those whom Spanish is their primary language.”

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department recommends the following for everyone to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Staying home when sick. This helps protect others from getting sick.
  • Not gathering in groups larger than 10 people.
  • Staying at least 6 feet apart from others.
  • Wearing a cloth mask over your mouth and nose when around others.

Lexington residents with questions about COVID-19 can call the health department’s special COVID-19 hotline at 859-899-2222 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

Information in Spanish can be found here:

LFCHD: https://www.lfchd.org/en-espanol/

City of Lexington: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/COVID-19/multilingual-information

Kentucky Department for Public Health: https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/covid19/kycovid19.es.pdf


Los casos de COVID-19 aumentan en las comunidades Hispanas de Lexington

El COVID-19 continúa extendiéndose en Lexington, con un aumento de casos entre la población hispana de la ciudad. Entre el total de los 1,284 casos, 322 (25 por ciento) se identifican como hispanos, un grupo que compone el 7 por ciento de la población de Lexington.

“Los casos de COVID-19 han estado aumentando constantemente en todo Lexington durante las últimas 4 a 5 semanas”, dijo el Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, Comisionado de Salud. “Esta ola de casos más reciente incluye un aumento en residentes afectados que se auto-identifican como hispanos. El departamento de salud continuará trabajando con miembros de esta comunidad y funcionarios de la ciudad en la prevención y la información para el control de enfermedades, incluyendo mensajes en español para aquellos que el español es su idioma principal.”

El Departamento de Salud de Lexington-Condado de Fayette recomienda lo siguiente para que todos ayuden a prevenir la propagación de COVID-19:

  • Lavarse las manos frecuentemente con agua y jabón durante al menos 20 segundos.
  • Quedarse en la casa cuando esté enfermo. Esto ayuda a proteger a otros de enfermarse.
  • No reunirse en grupos mayores de 10 personas.
  • Permanecer al menos a 6 pies (1.82m) de distancia de los demás.
  • Usar una máscara de tela sobre la boca y la nariz cuando este cerca de los demás.

Los residentes de Lexington con preguntas sobre COVID-19 pueden llamar a la línea directa especial COVID-19 del departamento de salud al 859-899-2222 de 8 a.m.-4 p.m. todos los días.

La información en español se puede encontrar aquí:

LFCHD: https://www.lfchd.org/en-espanol/

Ciudad de Lexington: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/COVID-19/multilingual-information

Departamento de Salud Publica de Kentucky: https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/covid19/kycovid19.es.pdf

Contact tracing is a key part of containing COVID-19

Lexington, we need your help! Contact tracing is confidential and is an important part of limiting the spread of COVID-19, and we need you to cooperate with public health agencies when we call. This includes being willing to discuss potential contacts and isolating/quarantining as advised. With phased re-openings and increased social mixing, your help with contact tracing is a key in helping Lexington be well!

You can learn more at Kentucky’s COVID-19 page and in this video from the Kentucky Department for Public Health:

COVID-19 cases on the rise in Lexington

June 8, 2020 – COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly in Lexington: there have been 56 new cases confirmed since Saturday, bringing the city’s total to 928. None of the new cases are from the outbreak at the Federal Medical Center, meaning COVID-19 is spreading throughout the entire city. Based on our case investigations, the protests are not contributing to the rise in cases we’ve seen this week and the couple weeks prior.

Our recommendations about preventing the spread of COVID-19 remain the same no matter the reason anyone is going out into the public: practice physical distancing by staying at least 6 feet apart from anyone not in your household, wear a cloth mask covering your face and nose, and wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

Stay safe during summer heat!

Be sure to follow these summer safety tips during the heat:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. You will need to drink more fluids than your thirst level indicates. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages or drinks with large amounts of sugar because they cause you to lose more fluid.
  • Wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing. Sunscreen should be SPF 15 or greater and applied 30 minutes before going outdoors. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Wear a wide-brimmed hat that will provide shade and keep your head cool.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully. If you must be outside, try to plan your activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Use a buddy system. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you.
  • Monitor those at high risk, including infants and children up to 4 years of age, people 65 and older, people who are overweight, people who overexert during work or exercise and people who are ill or on certain medications for blood pressure diuretics. Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children need much more frequent watching.

Signs of heat-related illnesses include an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F); red, hot and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; muscle cramps; tiredness and unconsciousness. If someone starts to experience these symptoms, seek medical help immediately and move them to a shady spot, if outdoors, and begin cooling them using whatever methods are available. Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.








Stay safe cleaning flooded homes

All this rain can lead to flooded homes, which means an increase in health risks! Please use caution when cleaning out flooded homes. Floodwater can affect homes by damaging materials, introducing unknown contaminants including sewage and creating dampness throughout the home. Please take the following steps during flooding:

• Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup is completed.

• Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves and goggles during cleanup of affected area. Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces with hot water and laundry or dish detergent. After completing cleanup, wash your hands with soap and water. Wash clothes worn during cleanup in hot water and detergent, separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.

• Remove and discard any item that cannot be washed and disinfected. Also, remove items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried (these items can remain a source of mold growth and should be removed from the home).

• Prevent water outdoors from reentering your home. Water from gutters or the roof should drain away from the house; the ground around the house should slope away from the house to keep basements and crawl spaces dry. Ensure that crawl spaces in basements have proper draining to limit water seepage; ventilate to allow area to dry out.

• Floodwater often contains infectious organisms, including intestinal bacteria. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, muscle aches and fever. Most cases of sickness from flood conditions are caused by ingesting contaminated food or water.

• Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill during cleanup.

Guidance for Re-opening Businesses (including Restaurants)

Gov. Andy Beshear and the Kentucky Department for Public Health have provided guidance for businesses that are re-opening. You can find them at kycovid19.ky.gov and on our website. This includes requirements for restaurants: Healthy At Work Restaurants.

USDA best practices for restaurants can be found here: Retail Food Best Practices Fact Sheet.

The FDA has also released information to help guide restaurants.

New free COVID-19 testing options available in Lexington

More COVID-19 testing slots are now open in Lexington! Gov. Andy Beshear announced the opening of registration next week for Kroger drive-up testing 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, May 4-Friday, May 8, at Bluegrass Community & Technical College, 500 Newtown Pike. Registration can be made at www.krogerhealth.com/covidtesting or by calling 1-888-852-2567, option 1, then option 3. Testing is for anyone who needs it — you do not have to show symptoms!

Updates to public health services in Lexington

Updated April 20, 2020, to include information about wearing masks.

As part of our COVID-19 response, everyone who enters our building at 650 Newtown Pike will be screened with a series of questions and a temperature check. Visitors to our Public Health Clinic or WIC Clinic must wear a cloth or surgical mask. If you do not have one when you arrive, one will be provided for you.

We have also changed a number of our in-person public health services in the interest of social distancing and because of limited staff availability. Before visiting us, please review the following to see if you need to be on site:

• WIC visits will no longer be in-person and will now be held over the phone. Please call 859-288-2483 with any questions or for more information. If you have an existing WIC appointment, you DO NOT need to call to reschedule; someone on our staff will call you. We will continue to accept new WIC clients during this time. To learn more about WIC, visit lexingtonhealthdepartment.org/women-infants-and-children/.
• Public Health Clinic services will be limited and available only as same-day appointments – you must call ahead of time as walk-ins will not be accepted. Please call 859-288-2483 to make an appointment. Note: this will not affect our needle-exchange program or harm reduction services at this time.
• In-person food handler certifications are suspended until further notice. The certification is still available online at lexingtonhealthdepartment.org/food-handler-certification/.
• Vital Statistics (birth and death records) will be closed to walk-in visitors. If you need assistance with these records, please call 859-899-2226.

• We will not accept in-person requests for medical records, protected health information or requests for immunization records. Please use this link to make an online request: https://tinyurl.com/s4b6qh2. We also offer this authorization to release/receive/review protected health information: https://tinyurl.com/wnkg7sw.

We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding as we continue helping Lexington be well while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parker named 2020 Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Board of Health has selected Jon Parker as the 2020 Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero. The award is given annually to individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to improving the health of Lexington residents. The winner is announced each April as part of National Public Health Week (April 6-10, 2020).

Parker is the executive director of AVOL Kentucky, Inc., a statewide organization whose mission is to “collaborate with communities to END HIV in the Commonwealth.” Parker has led HIV prevention teams across the state of Kentucky for more than three decades, including during the peak of the HIV epidemic in the 1990s. He holds a Master’s Degree in social work from the University of Kentucky.

Parker served on the original steering committee for AVOL Kentucky’s Solomon House, a long-term community residence for people with AIDS. Parker joined AVOL Kentucky in 2015, at a time when the board of directors was looking to move the organization into a more sustainable trajectory. AVOL has now expanded its mission to serve more medically vulnerable populations in the area of stable and affordable housing.

During his tenure at AVOL Kentucky, Parker has organized strategic planning efforts, created quality, low-income accessible housing for the medically vulnerable, expanded prevention services and enhanced outreach and empowerment for at-risk populations in Lexington. He has led events including the AIDS 5K Walk/Run and “Dining Out for Life,” AVOL Kentucky’s largest annual fundraiser.

Parker will be recognized at a future Board of Health meeting. He will also be honored during a Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council meeting. The awards are typically presented in April but are being postponed because of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously known as the Public Health Hero Award, the Board of Health renamed the award in 2016 in memory of the late Dr. Rice C. Leach, Lexington’s former Commissioner of Health who spent more than 50 years as a public health physician. Leach died April 1, 2016.

Past winners include Mark Johnson (2019), Dr. Svetla Slavova (2018), Reginald Thomas (2017), Dr. Rice C. Leach (2016), Dr. Susan Pollack and Marian F. Guinn (2015), the Rev. Willis Polk and Baby Health Service (2014), Anita Courtney and Teens Against Tobacco Use (2013); Vickie Blevins and Jay McChord (2012); Jill Chenault-Wilson and Dr. Malkanthie McCormick (2011); Dr. Jay Perman (2010); the Lexington Lions Club (2009); Dr. David Stevens and the late Dr. Doane Fischer (2008); Dr. Ellen Hahn, Mary Alice Pratt and Therese Moseley (2007); Dr. Andrew Moore and Rosa Martin (2006); Jan Brucato and Dragana Zaimovic (2005); and Dr. John Michael Moore, Ellen Parks and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (2004). Dr. Robert Lam received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

For additional information, like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.