Pike County just saw its three highest weeks of newly reported COVID-19 cases, with more than 100 new cases reported last week, and public health officials said that cases will continue to spread if the public does not take precautions.
During the week of Oct. 5 to Oct. 11, Pike County saw 104 newly reported cases of the virus, which is its highest-ever week of new cases. The county also saw 66 newly reported cases during the week of Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, and 65 new cases reported during the week of Sept. 21 to Sept. 27.
These three past weeks continued to set records for the county as the highest weeks of newly reported cases. Before then, the only other week to increase near that total was the week of July 20 to July 26, where the county saw 51 newly reported cases.
As cases continue to spike across the county, Pike County Public Health Director Tammy Riley said that multiple factors contribute to the exponential increase in new cases. These factors include increased mobility and “COVID fatigue,” or the fatigue that many feel about the ongoing pandemic, which has led to a decrease in compliance with wearing masks, social distancing and taking other precautions in order to limit the spread of the virus.
“There’s multiple factors involved in the increase in cases, one being increased mobility within the community. What I mean by increased mobility is that individuals are returning to work, returning to school, increasing number of activities and college students returning to school as well,” Riley said. “There’s definitely decreased compliance due to COVID fatigue. Individuals are feeling frustrated. This has been going on now for over six months, and compliance has become more difficult for the general public.”
Riley added that more cases are typically spread from social events and gatherings, like birthday parties, and not from more structured environments, like schools or workplaces, where precautions are being taken.
“What we see in public health frequently is when individuals are in structured environments like work and school and protocols are followed, there’s little spread,” Riley said. “Typically, what we see is transmission of the virus outside of those controlled environments at home in the evenings and the weekends.”
In Pike County, as of presstime Oct. 15, there have been 703 total cases of COVID-19. Of those total cases, 173 of them are considered active, 527 people have recovered from the virus and three people have died so far.
Riley said that, as of Oct. 12, there were 22 COVID-19-specific patients being hospitalized in Pike County, with four of those people being Pike County residents and seven of the patients being hospitalized on mechanical ventilation. As of presstime Oct. 15, five Pike County residents were being hospitalized.
Riley noted that one of the more recent trends in Pike County’s new cases is the increase of cases being reported in the age demographics of 29 and younger. As of presstime Oct. 15, about 41 percent, or 287 cases, have been reported in that age demographic, which includes people in their 20s and young adults ages 0-19.
Currently, about 18 percent, or 128 cases, have been reported in people who are 60 years old or older.
“Earlier in the pandemic, children and young adults were not at school, and they were restricting their social activities,” Riley said. “The essential workforce initially went back to work. What we saw were the 30s, 40s, 50s, even into the 60-year decade age-span, as far as those who were affected by COVID. Now, we’re definitely seeing a shift.”
Riley urged the people of Pike County to continue taking precautions as much as possible in order to prevent the spread of the virus. She urged the community to remember the 5-C plan (Civic duty, Calm, Clean, Cover and Contain) for the best outcomes and in order to reduce the number of new cases as quickly as possible.
“What this community can do is to encourage the young and old and everyone in between, all age demographics, to encourage each other to wear their masks while they’re in public encountering others, to keep our 6-foot social distancing and wash our hands and high-touch traffic areas as frequently as possible,” Riley said. “Those are the three strongest weapons that we have to date. They help the community fight back during the pandemic.”
For more information about the county’s cases, visit, www.pikecountyhealth.com. The Pike County Health Department is located at 119 River Drive, and it can be reached at, (606) 437-5500.
Symptoms for COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of the reported symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Although older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions, like heart or lung disease or diabetes, seem to be at a higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19, anyone at any age can contract the virus.
According to the CDC, the primary ways to protect against contracting or spreading the virus is to do frequent hand washing, maintain social distancing (keeping six feet apart from others) and wearing a face mask or facial covering when around others.