Mayor Linda Gorton held a press conference with Commissioner of Health, Kraig Humbaugh, and Commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, Julian Tackett.
“Today, Commissioner Humbaugh and I are recommending that the organizers consider postponing or cancelling all public in person events as part of our COVID-19 response,” said Mayor Gorton. “We recognize that this will be painful for some groups, but we also know that we must do everything we can to protect the lives of our citizens.”
COVID-19 is primaritly spread through close contact with those that are infected. Limiting physical contact with others can help reduce the spread of this disease and protecting those at higher risk, such as seniors and those with chronic diseases.
“These precautions today are designed to help us limit the spread of COVID-19. Like other respiratory illnesses, they spread when people who are sick sneeze or cough and that others who are suseptable will breathe in that virus and that is how people get sick,” says Commissioner Humbaugh. “So today, we know that this will cause some disruption to people’s lives and we also think this is premeasure to take in order to continue to try to prevent the spread of the disease.”
Factors event organizers should consider when deciding to hold an event include:
- The age and health status of attendees. People over 60 years of age or those with chronic medical conditions have been advised to avoid public gatherings;
- The ability to implement regular environmental cleaning measures for high-touch areas during event;
- The ability to provide opportunities for good hand-washing and availability of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, in lieu of hand-washing;
- The capability for attendees to practice social distancing (remain 6 feet away from each other). Crowd density and indoor gatherings in small spaces could impact the ability of attendees to space themselves;
- The ability to potentially screen participants for fever or symptoms of illness. Those with either should be advised not to attend;
- The length of the event. The longer the event’s duration, the greater the risk of potential exposure;
- The ability to manage the needs of people who may become ill and the ability to track or recall attendees if an attendee is identified as having COVID-19.
If an in-person gathering is held, the following prevention measures are recommended for individuals to reduce the transmission of COVID-19:
- Stay home when you are sick;
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick with fever, coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. To avoid close contact, stay at least 6 feet away from others;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. To avoid coughing into your hands, you can cough into your elbow;.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe;
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for “at least 20 seconds,” especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
The following are action strategies for postponing or canceling events:
- Immediately alert event staff and participants if the event(s) has been postponed or canceled and inform them of emergency refund policy and re-ticketing option, if available.
- Inform everyone about when events may occur if postponed. Let event participants know whether new tickets can be obtained and when.
Commissioner Tackett said of the committees choice to cancel the 2020 Sweet 16 tournament for both boys and girls basketball, “We have a special event here in town that was scheduled, girls basketball tournament, followed by…boys basketball. We know the economic engine that those tournaments have on this city and we know that cancellation is uncomfortable. Nobody will ever know how uncomfortable it was for us, but in the end the more we talked to healthcare professionals, the more obvious the choice was.”
To help answer the community’s questions about COVID-19, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is operating a call center for members of the public. Questions can be asked by calling (859) 899-2222 during regular business hours or emailing COVID19@lfchd.org. Additional information, including frequently asked questions, can be found at lfchd.org and on the LFCHD social media accounts. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.
The City is also providing updates on lexingtonky.gov. Click on COVID-19 information.
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