Powell County responds to COVID-19 red zone designation

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“You have to keep our businesses going, there’s no need really to shut it down as long if we follow the protocols,” emergency manager Kevin Babcock says.(WDKY)

POWELL CO., Ky. (WDKY) – Powell County is now in the red zone for COVID-19.

Governor Andy Beshear released a laundry list of recommendations for these counties. A reminder to some of these suggestions:

  • Working from home if possible
  • Less in-person shopping
  • Ordering take out rather than dining in
  • Returning to virtual schooling
  • Avoiding non-essential activities outside your home

“This is not the flu, this is four or five times more deadly than the flu,” said Powell County emergency manager Kevin Babcock.

Babcock says the last ten days have been difficult in the battle against the coronavirus. He says, for a while, the county was in the yellow zone, and, now, it’s officially in the red.

Babcock says many of these new cases are from family gatherings, not businesses.

“You have to keep our businesses going, there’s no need really to shut it down as long if we follow the protocols,” Babcock says.

Babcock says many have been listening to the mask guidelines in stores, but when they’re in local areas or yard sales, those masks can come off.

“People appreciate that we are watching out for staff and watching out for students,” said Superintendent Anthony Orr.

Orr says, as of Wednesday, schools in the county are back to virtual learning. He explains the switch was made before the county was officially in the red. He says the county made the decisions based on staffing alone.

“We have had no indication of spread within the schools and our caseload in the schools have stayed pretty low. we were confident that we could continue in person, but it was the number of quarantined staff that had been close contacts that with other positive cases in the community that forced us to make that move,” Orr said.

Orr says students will not return to school until at least November 18. He says he’s keeping an eye on data on a day-to-day basis.

For now, experts say to keep following the CDC guidelines we’ve become accustomed to, even if we’re becoming fatigued during this fight.

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