Three counties in western Kentucky enter red zone for COVID-19 cases

(WEHT) After months of declining COVID-19 cases across the country, some counties in the tri-state are re-entering their state’s respective red zones of cases. Among them are three counties in western Kentucky.

“I am sad that we are in the red zone again,” said Kay Mayes of Central City.

“I was immediately concerned,” added Crystal Chappell of Muhlenberg County.

That’s what some Muhlenberg County residents thought when their county, along with Hopkins and Webster counties, entered the Commonwealth’s red zone of more than 25 new cases per 100,000 population. These are three of the five Kentucky counties in this area. It comes as Hopkins County health officials warn the delta variant is approaching the area and report to other neighboring counties.

“I have a 93 year old mom and I worry about her. She was vaccinated and she had the disease. But at the same time, with this variant coming up, I’m afraid it’s still vulnerable, ”Mayes said.

Clay Horton of the Green River District Health Department, which covers Webster County, says more than 90% of new cases are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Hospitalizations are still low. But if cases continue to rise, more counties could reach red.

“We’ve seen, sort of, an accelerated spread in Webster County for a few months now. We are also seeing high odds in Union and Henderson counties now. Really, throughout our region, the rates of cases are increasing. They may not be the only county in the red anytime soon, ”said Horton.

In Indiana, Gibson County is one of three counties in Indiana in the orange zone, one level below red. In Illinois, White, Wabash and Edwards counties were three of Illinois’ 13 counties among those at the state’s warning level last week. Back in Kentucky, some are looking again for those masks they once put away.

“I was telling my husband yesterday, we’re going to have to take them off and start wearing them for safety,” Chappell explains.

Horton hopes more vaccinations can handle the spread, but recommends that those still unvaccinated continue to wear masks in public and at social distance.

(This story originally appeared on July 16, 2021)

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