There’s a reason you don’t know the name of every person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or where they’ve been in recent weeks.
“Patient privacy, plain and simple,” said Clay Horton, Public Health Director at Green River District Health Department. “I would ask people if that was you, would you want your identity being released?”
A few of the names have gotten around, Horton said, and it further backs up the Health Department’s reasoning.
“We have heard of patients in the community that other people get to know, and they get harassing texts, harassing phone calls,” he said. “That’s the reason why we don’t release this kind of stuff.”
As for where they’ve been, Horton said it wouldn’t be particularly useful for the public to know.
“If we released a list of places that patients had been and you haven’t been to one of those, it gives you a false sense of security,” Horton said.
Plus, he said, having been in the same location as someone who tested positive doesn’t necessarily indicate that someone is at greater risk because there could be cases out there that are positive that have never been tested.
“People need to recognize that there’s community spread,” Horton said. “They need to be taking proactive steps to protect themselves. They need to be staying home as much as possible. They need to be avoiding crowds. They need to be practicing good hand hygiene.”
Officials with the Health Department conduct interviews with patients who test positive then track down anyone deemed at risk, meaning the public shouldn’t fret as more cases are announced.
“We assess the risk in every contact investigation,” he said. “We will take appropriate action to address those risks.”
They deem people at risk if they have spent 30 minutes or more within six feet of a patient.
So far, many of the cases have been linked to family members or others who spend large amounts of time together, though there have been some isolated incidents.
It’s too early to say that we have definite patterns, but we are seeing clusters of people that know each other that are infected,” Horton said. “But we’re also seeing cases here and there where there’s not an apparent point of infection that we know of.”
So far almost all of the patients have not required hospitalization and are being isolated in their homes until they are well and unable to spread the virus.
As of Wednesday morning, Daviess County had 22 confirmed cases, with patients ranging in age from 20 to 74.
The Owensboro Health coronavirus hotline is available 24/7 by calling 877-888-6647. Call the hotline before seeking in-person care. More information from OH can be found here.
For the latest information and data on COVID-19 in Kentucky visit kycovid19.ky.gov or dial the Kentucky state hotline at 800-722-5725.
For the latest health guidelines and resources from the CDC, visit their website here.