On Friday, April 3, Johnson County Judge-Executive Mark McKenzie and Paintsville Mayor Bill Mike Runyon, along with Director of Emergency Management Gary McClure, the Johnson County Public Health Director Julie Bush and Paul B. Hall Medical Center CEO Debbie Trimble, announced in a press conference at the Johnson County Fiscal Courtroom that a Johnson resident has been confirmed as having the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Bush addressed the public via livestream, stating, “While I can’t provide details on this case, what I can tell you is that we were notified this afternoon that there was a positive case in Johnson County and our infectious disease nurse has been notified. She is currently at the office contacting this individual and will continue to investigate this case and contact any other individuals who were in contact with the positive case. We want you to be assured that we will work this case as quickly as we can.”
McKenzie and Runyon both spoke, encouraging the community to continue practice being healthy at home, to continue washing their hands for at least 20 seconds and continue maintaining social distancing of a minimum of six feet.
Runyon said Johnson County has already been doing a “good job” in taking those steps.
“I just want to reiterate what you’re probably already hearing every afternoon at 5 if you’re listening to the governor’s talk," Trimble said. "He talks about when to seek care. You know, we’re all worried about this virus. We don’t know that much about it, everybody’s scared. If you’re just worried but you have no symptoms, then stay at home. If you have symptoms and you think you need medical attention, then you can go to your local emergency room or your doctor’s office, but please call ahead to let them know that you’re coming so they can be prepared to take care of you when you get there and have available the personal protective equipment that you need, they need and that everybody needs to care for you until after you’re tested, if you meet the requirements to be tested.
“Above all, adhere to the staying home, wash your hands and do not touch your face," she continued. "As far as the masks go, if you want to wear a mask, that’s fine. The biggest thing is that will remind you not to touch your face. I see a lot of people walking around town with N95 masks on and that’s really taking away from what the healthcare providers need to give care to these patients. That is not the mask you need if you’re not giving direct care to an individual."
McKenzie said the community will get through this by following the recommendations.
"Please stay healthy at home," he said. "If at all possible, stay at home. Practice the social distancing if you have to be out. These are the steps we have to take to flatten the curve.”
He encouraged everyone to assume that they are an asymptomatic carrier of the virus and to be cautious of their interactions of others in that way.
For more information, please visit the Johnson County Health Department’s Facebook page.