First local COVID-19 case confirmed

Dr. Michael Kelley of Owensboro Health speaks about the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Daviess County during a press conference on Thursday at the Daviess County courthouse.

After days of anticipating the COVID-19 outbreak to hit Daviess County, health officials confirmed the first case on Thursday during a press conference at the Daviess County Courthouse.

According to Clay Horton, health director for the Green River District Health Department, a 51-year-old man, who lives in Daviess County, has tested positive.

Another regional confirmed case, Horton said, is a 63-year-old woman who resides in Henderson County. She tested positive through Deaconess Health System.

Deaconess, later in the day, confirmed a second case — a patient from Evansville whose condition isn’t severe and is quarantined at home.

Horton said that the Daviess and the Henderson cases were not related but both reported domestic travel history before the onset of symptoms.

“While these are the first cases we have reported … we were expecting this; we’re not surprised by this and we’re prepared to respond,” Horton said.

The health department has deployed its epidemiologists and its other support members to conduct contact investigations. That involves finding out the various locations they visited and who the two individuals may have encountered before being tested.

“Both patients are doing well and self-isolated in their homes,” Horton said.

Horton was joined by Owensboro Health physician Michael Kelley, Judge-Executive Al Mattingly, Mayor Tom Watson, City Manager Nate Pagan and Emergency Management Agency Director Andy Ball.

Kelley said there have been no coronavirus patients being treated or tested at the hospital.

“This was a case that was tested in the community by one of the community physicians,” Kelley said. “This was not a case that was tested through any of Owensboro Health’s capacities.”

Both city and government leaders stressed that no one should be fearful with the announcement of the first case.

“This is not a time to panic,” Mattingly said. “We’ve gone through a lot of things in the past; this may be the time for us to stand up and show that this generation has some greatness within it as well.”

With the Daviess and Henderson counties’ coronavirus cases, it brings the number to 47 confirmed statewide. Two deaths — a 66-year-old Bourbon County man and a 64-year-old man from Jefferson County— have been attributed to the coronavirus.

If there are more local coronavirus cases confirmed, city and county officials said they will be made public through the health department and not through a press conference.

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

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