Owsley County, along with the rest of the world, is going through an unprecedented public health crisis with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Owsley County ranks as one of the unhealthiest counties in Kentucky with high numbers of the risk factors: diabetes, obesity, cancer, older population, COPD, asthma and so on. We have been facing growing numbers, frustration with social distancing and concerns about children missing out on in school learning and sports events. We, all, want nothing more than to return to our normal daily lives. At the same time we are seeing more and more family members, friends, and loved ones who are becoming infected.
There seems to be a lot of misinformation circulating about this pandemic that causes many questions, concerns, and confusion. We hear that it is just like the flu and nothing to worry about. Health statistics compiled by the CDC tell us a different story. We know from CDC data that from late January to early October 2020, our nation had more than 299,000 more deaths that the average in past years. We hear that it only kills the elderly. Yet, according to the CDC, the largest percentage increases of excess deaths this year were among Hispanic and adults aged 25-44. So far, Owsley has only one reported COVID-19 related death. Let’s keep it that way, although one is too many. Owsley County is a small county and our families and friends are so intertwined that any death impacts us all. Even one is too many.
Scientists have told us that the best way to protect ourselves and others is to continue to practice everyday prevention.
Wash your hands often,
Avoid close contact,
Wear a mask,
Cover coughs and sneezes, and
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often.
These are all fairly simple things to do. Perhaps, the hardest is the social distancing but it is a small price to pay if it protects the life of a grandparent, parent, friend, neighbor or just anyone.
Remember too, that our small businesses suffer when we break the rules. They can be fined if the Health Department comes in and finds violations. Respect them enough to mask up and maintain the social distance (6 feet apart) guidelines. Some have said that if we, as a nation, followed the guidelines for two weeks then we could get past this. Owsley Countians, let’s serve as an example of the best caring community around.
Remember the life you save may be yourself or your loved one!