Scott County’s battle against COVID-19 took another twist when the Detention Center identified a cluster of confirmed cases over the weekend.
“Despite our tireless efforts over the past several months to keep COVID-19 out of our jail, in the last several days we have experienced multiple confirmed cases at Scott County Detention Center,” Jailer Derran Broyles announced Sunday via the center’s Facebook page. “We knew all along that it was going to be nearly impossible to keep out.”
As of Monday morning, some nine inmates and one staff member tested positive for the coronavirus. The staff member is in self isolation at home and the inmates are quarantined together in two cells, Broyles said. Several of the inmates are showing symptoms of the virus, but others are not.
“Typically, we try to isolate new arrests for two or three days, but we have such limited space,” the jailer said. “We haven’t been able to continue that. We are using the drunk tanks and isolation cells. That’s what led to my decision to shut the facility down. The new intakes are our greatest risk.”
The jail is using contact tracing to identify anyone who may have been in contact with any of the confirmed COVID-19 cases, including attorneys or anyone who may have been in an inmate’s path on their way to court or other locations, he said. The Wedco Health District is working with the jail and is helping to do contact tracing for inmates who may have been released and live in neighboring counties, he said.
Anyone arrested in Scott County over the next two weeks will be transferred to a jail in a nearby county. The jail currently has 70 inmates. Any inmate who is released is recommended to self isolate for 14 days at home.
The jail is awaiting new coronavirus tests kits and will continue testing once those arrive, he said.
There are a couple of inmates who have tested negative for COVID-19, but they were in the same cell with someone who was positive, Broyles said. Those inmates have been isolated from the general population and will be tested again.
From the very beginning of the pandemic the jail has begun 20 to 25 new protocols, and since the outbreak there have been some protocols in place, he said.
“We are constantly improvising and adapting,” Broyles said. “This is an ever evolving situation.”
Scott County has 188 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and as been the case over the past couple of weeks, the ages are shewing younger. On Saturday, five males, ranging in age from 23 to 37 years of age and one 19-year-old female. Several of these cases were traced back to contact with another positive patient, according to the Wedco Health District.
The number of confirmed cases in July is now at 80.
Dr. Crystal Miller said one of the key statistics in watching the spike of COVID-19 cases is the number of hospitalizations. Scott County has now had five patients hospitalized, On June 22, Scott County had 76 confirmed cases from mid-March, but 112 cases have been confirmed since that date. Ninety-three of those confirmed cases have recovered.
On Sunday, there were 979 new cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky, including 30 from children five years old or younger. Four of the five highest daily number of new cases has occurred within the last week with Sunday’s total the highest total since the pandemic began. Typically, Sunday’s numbers are lower because of the weekend, which gives public health officials an ever greater concern.
“We typically have limited reporting on Sunday, which makes today’s record-setting number of positives particularly alarming,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack. “In the interest of accuracy, we are going to reach out and confirm results with some of the major labs.
“Even so, this surge in positive cases is a shocking wakeup call. Kentucky has flattened the curve before, and it must act immediately and decisively to flatten it again. Please wear your mask and social distance.”
Kentucky now has 23,161 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 670 deaths.
“This ought to be a wakeup call for everybody,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “This is a rough day in the Commonwealth. Thirty children under five who have tested positive. Thirty families whose parents and caregivers are hurting more than anything we can imagine.”
At least 529,482 coronavirus tests have been administered in Kentucky as of Saturday, including 533 in Scott County. The rate of positive cases stands at 4.66 percent statewide, which is based on a seven-day rolling average, but before Sunday’s numbers. The rate of positive cases was not released Sunday. The Centers for Disease Control encourage states that reach 5 percent of positive cases to restart shutting down to bring the virus under control. Beshear has not indicated he would take such an action, but he has warned additional measures are likely.
Public and health officials encourage the public to wear a mask, observe social distancing and wash your hands regularly.
Mike Scogin can be reached at email@example.com.