LRHC is pleased to be able to work with the state and local public health department to bring more widespread testing to the community. While we at Lexington Regional Health Center have only had one patient hospitalized since our surge occurred into the first week of May, we are seeing a steady increase in positive case rates as more testing occurs. The 7/27 DHHS map shows that 3964 people have now been tested with 916 positive tests identified through this testing. Our county wide case positive rate with 71 people testing positive over the past month is 0.29% using 24,000 for county population.
The bulk of the positive tests are revealed through testing prior to a procedure or through widespread testing; most are asymptomatic. That being said, I am aware of some people who have some symptoms that are reportedly similar to a cold or influenza in their severity. This is variable and is only anecdotal. As we know, once we have community spread and it is endemic, we will see activity until an infectivity threshold is reached. There is debate about that number; that is, what percentage of the community will eventually become positive for COVID.
The important thing to continue to remember, particularly as we move from a more restrictive to a less restrictive phase, is that masks, social distancing and good hand washing are mainstays of COVID containment. One study suggested that if 95% of people masked and remember to use good hand hygiene for just six weeks, we would be well on our way to containing and controlling this infection.
So, while it appears that right now the positive cases are not causing the same severity of illness as previously, it is important to remember that this is an unknown RNA virus. Reducing the spread of this novel infectious disease that requires diligent and persistent monitoring, studying and using our knowledge about the spread of this disease to help us and those around us stay safe and healthy.
As we continue to monitor and respond to this situation, we know that working together as a community, a state and a nation will be incredibly important. Our previous experience illustrated that the LRHC team was prepared and committed. The team developed and maintains strong relationships with tertiary hospitals and with Dr. Jim Smith’s Priority Care transport company. These characteristics along with the strong leadership seen across the state likely helped our community more quickly and effectively respond. That action may well be responsible for mitigating our risks and reducing our mortality rate in the county and the district.