Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) has confirmed the first death of a county resident — a woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions — with COVID-19 as a contributing factor.
“We express our deepest condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of the deceased,” said Leigh Cannon, MPH, deputy health commissioner of FCPH. “We ask that the community please respect the privacy of this family as they mourn their loss. No further information will be released.”
As of Friday, FCPH reported a significant increase in positive cases of COVID-19. Sixteen new confirmed and two new probable cases have been reported since Thursday for a total of 18 new cases.
FCPH has reported a total of 165 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since the first lab-confirmed case was reported on March 24. One hundred twenty-six individuals have recovered and have been released from monitoring. Thirty-eight individuals are actively ill and in isolation.
Four people are currently hospitalized and there have been a total of 17 hospitalizations due to complications from COVID-19. No additional information is available at this time as the investigations are still being conducted, according to FCPH.
Cannon is asking for the community’s cooperation in contact tracing.
“If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and get a call from the health department, please answer the call,” she said. “It is important that we are able to identify those who may have had close contact with infected individuals in order to stop the spread. We do not share your identity when we speak to people to let them know that they have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.”
Most individuals who contract COVID-19 will experience a mild or moderate illness. However, some will experience severe illness. Those who are at the highest risk for serious complications are older adults and people of any age with underlying health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
“It remains important to stay vigilant in taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Cannon. “Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Stay six feet apart from others who are not a part of your household. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Wear a cloth facial covering when indoors in public places, or outdoors when distancing cannot be maintained. Stay home when you are sick.”
Washington C.H. City Manager Joe Denen also offered the city’s condolences to the family and friends of the woman who passed away.
“It is easy when reading or listening to the news to think about virus statistics like numbers and not people, let us respect the privacy of the family and use this dark milestone to remind us all to take precautions concerning the virus,” Denen said.
Denen added, “Please take the opportunity to wash or sanitize your hands. Please wear a face mask when you are shopping or performing other errands. Please observe the advice to keep reasonable distance from people that are not part of your household.
“I believe in your ability and desire to exercise good judgment and to make a difference. We can’t exist in a state of fear, neither should we fail to act in simple ways that can help to increase the relative safety of people at risk.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.