As local COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Mayfield’s mayor and Graves County’s judge-executive are partnering with the Graves County Health Department to raise their combined efforts to encourage people to keep combatting the coronavirus.
Mayor Kathy O’Nan and Judge-Executive Jesse Perry spoke on WYMC radio and made a social media video Monday to encourage people to take steps to fight COVID-19 through social distancing, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer.
“It’s nothing we haven’t been doing,” Perry said. “It’s just an awareness campaign.”
O’Nan said the city and county have been working to try and stem cases through their own means and at City Hall or the Graves County Courthouse, but wanted to present “a united front.”
“Now we’re a team working together. We’ve got the goal line in our sites because we’re so much better than where we were,” she said. “In that first video (in the spring), I said we’d all be going back to football games in the fall. Well gosh, we’re far from that. Nobody likes wearing masks or likes restrictions, but it’s just time for us all to get on board.”
And to help in that effort, O’Nan and Perry will be visiting local businesses next week to check on their needs and also provide masks and hand sanitizer collected by the health department. Perry said for some, having those supplies at hand can encourage people to use them.
“It’s like me,” he said. “If I have it in front of me, I’ll use it.”
The Graves County Health Department issued a public health order Monday requiring employees and customers of all public facing businesses, including all retail businesses, to wear face coverings while shopping. The order, which will remain in effect until it is determined a state of emergency no longer exists, covers a timeline from when the state of emergency was declared in Kentucky on March 6 to local declarations to the declaration by President Donald Trump of a national state of emergency due to COVID-19.
Health Department Director Noel Coplen said doing the recommended steps of wearing a mask while in a social setting and social distancing can be a good way to kickoff the holiday season.
“If I walk into a business wearing a mask, it’s a point of kindness to those employees. A lot of business employees have been treated poorly. I think kindness has kind of left this year and we need to bring kindness back and be respectful of somebody else,” he said.
And as restrictions on businesses like restaurants have been rolled out from the state, following the recommended guidelines to fight the coronavirus can help re-open businesses faster.
“If the bank tellers all wear masks and one’s sick, the rest won’t be quarantined,” Coplen explained. “But if they’re working together and not wearing masks and one is positive, the rest has to quarantine.”
The health department reported 124 new COVID-19 cases in Graves County from Saturday to Tuesday. That increased the total case count for the county since March to 1,652 cases. There was also one new death that raised the Graves County figure to 42 since March.
At the beginning of November, Graves County had reported less than 900 total cases.