Caboni, Warren County leaders urge extra vigilance as COVID-19 cases rise in the state

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services COVID-19 numbers as of Nov. 12, 2020.

Michael J. Collins

Warren County leaders continue to urge mask-wearing and social distancing as cases rise across the state.

In a press conference Thursday, community leaders including representatives from school systems, including WKU President Tim Caboni, Bowling Green’s mayor and hospital presidents gathered to update the public.

The conference was held after Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced 2,700 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, the highest ever recorded in the state.

Mike Buchanon, Warren County Judge-Executive, said in the briefing that Warren County is “completely within the virus’ grip” as the Kentucky Department for Public Health reports an average of 41.7 new cases a day.

 “All that work is now at risk,” Buchanan said. “Please hear me: we are facing a serious consequence if we don’t change our ways.”

Regarding hospitals in the area, Connie Smith, President and CEO of MedCenter Health, said bed availability is not a concern but keeping facilities staffed has been challenging.

Caboni said WKU has had “tremendous success” in preventing the spread of the virus and following Healthy on the Hill guidelines.

“You can redesign your operations and revamp the way you work, but unless we each make the decision to follow guidelines proven to mitigate the spread of this virus, none of this matters,” Caboni said.

There have not been any recorded transmissions in educational settings at the university, Caboni said.

In an email following the conference, Caboni asked students and faculty to maintain their efforts through the semester and after it ends.

“[Following the transition to online] we ask that every one of our Hilltoppers bring home with them our Healthy on the Hill guidelines and demonstrate those same basic measures at home with their families and friends – just as they have on our campus,” Caboni said.

The spring semester will function similarly to the fall semester in regard to mixing in-person, online, and hybrid instruction, Caboni said, but the situation will be reassessed in January.

“This entire state is in danger. COVID-19 is absolutely everywhere,” Beshear said in his Wednesday presser. “We need everybody to wear your masks and follow red zone reduction recommendations and school recommendations. It is a must if you want to lessen the impact in your community.”

Warren County is among these red zones, according to the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

This announcement came just before the state Supreme Court upheld Beshear’s jurisdiction to implement statewide COVID-19 reduction measures, such as closing businesses and schools and mandating quarantine.

Michael J. Collins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @MJCollinsNews.