Cases of COVID-19 have been increasing in the Green River region and in Muhlenberg County, but officials at the Green River District and Muhlenberg County health departments say there’s no one reason why cases are on the rise.
On Wednesday, the Green River health department reported 58 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region, with 28 cases in Daviess County, 11 cases each in Union and Henderson counties, five cases in Webster County, two in Hancock County and one in McLean County.
That follows 50 cases that were reported in the Green River District Health Department coverage area on Tuesday, and 36 on Monday.
Also on Monday, the Muhlenberg County Health Department reported 14 new cases of COVID-19, with 60 “active” cases, including hospitalizations.
Clay Horton, director of the Green River District Health Department, said the recent increases do not seem to be the result of large Labor Day gatherings.
“We haven’t had anything specifically (connected) wth Labor Day parties,” Horton said Wednesday. Instead, “we are seeing general community spread.”
There has been an increase in confirmed cases in recent days, Horton said, but, “I don’t think we can blame it on Labor Day.”
New cases are up significantly, with counties in the western part of the health department’s coverage area seeing increases, he said.
“We are seeing a lot of social interactions, with people returning to work and going to fall sporting events. Sports seems to be playing a role,” he said.
Officials haven’t seen cases of transmission in schools. The increase, Horton said, is “people being mobile.”
Alma Fink, nursing supervisor for the Muhlenberg Health Department, said they have seen an increase in cases but she didn’t know if any were connected to Labor Day get-togethers.
Instead, “people are out more,” Fink said.
“We’ve had birthday parties, we’ve had weddings” in the county, Fink said. “People are out exposing themselves in ways they hadn’t” earlier this year.
Also, “a lot of our cases are (where) the whole family will get it,” Fink said.
As of Wednesday, 1,119 people statewide had died of COVID-19, a number that includes 32 people in the GRDHD area. Horton said the increase in numbers shows people need to continue practicing the “three W’s” — wearing masks, washing hands frequently and watching their distance from others.
“The numbers don’t lie. We know what works in preventing this,” Horton said. “... When we see high case numbers like we are seeing right now, we know people aren’t doing those things.
“We’ve done fairly well at this point,” Horton said. “There’s a lot of people out there doing the right thing … I think the numbers should remind us all it’s time to (recommit) and make sure we are as careful as we can.”
Fink said people need to maintain precautions.
“I would hope people are not letting their guard down, but, to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me,” Fink said.
In addition, people need to stay home if they “feel sick,” Fink said.
Those precautions “will be important as well, because flu season is coming up,” Fink said.
Because the flu and the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will be prevalent at the same time this fall and winter, people need to get flu shots, Fink said.
The shots are already available for most people, although the Muhlenberg County Health Department is expecting its supply of flu shots for children to arrive later this month. People can get a flu shot at the health department without an appointment, Fink said.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse