Nine Kentucky counties back in the COVID-19 red zone, state makes recommendations

Posted at 7:20 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 19:20:21-04

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — According to the state's numbers, nine counties in Kentucky have now slid back into the red zone.

They include Washington, Lewis, Clay, Laurel, Whitley, Hart, Hopkins, Webster, and Muhlenberg.

LEX 18 visited Washington County Wednesday to learn more about the recent spike in cases.

In the past week and a half alone, it's seen a 36% increase in cases, according to Melissa Phillips, a spokeswoman for the Lincoln Trail District Health Department, which covers Washington County.

"We didn't anticipate this spike," Phillips said. "Probably until the fall, if it was going to come."

She believes the spike has to do with the rise of the delta variant, that people have mostly returned to regular life, and the number of unvaccinated people.

Washington County has less than 42% of its population vaccinated, according to the state dashboard.

To get the number of cases down, the state has nine recommendations for all red counties.

Of those, Phillips said she believes the following four are the top recommendations to really focus on:

  • Work from home, if possible
  • Avoid gatherings
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Reduce in-person shopping and dining

Of course, the recommendation to get the COVID-19 vaccine still stands.

"I know that it's frustrating," she said. "Once we experience a little more freedoms, once we experience a return to normalcy, but we know the tools now to keep us safe. We know these things work, and if we can put some of these things back in place in our personal lives, in our professional lives, getting back to school, we think we can get a handle on COVID again."

She hopes that people follow the recommendations and choose to get a vaccine so the county can head back in the right direction and out of the red zone.

LTDHD hosts vaccination clinics every Monday and Thursday at the Washington County Health Department. You must have an appointment.

To sign up for a vaccine or to get updates on the state of COVID-19 in that area, visit

Whitley County, another county in the red zone, is asking people to also follow the current masking guidelines that Governor Andy Beshear laid out earlier this week.

Those recommendations are:

  • All unvaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors when not at home
  • Individuals with pre-existing conditions wear a mask, even if the individual is vaccinated
  • Vaccinated individuals in a job with significant public exposure consider wearing a masl
  • All eligible Kentuckians get vaccinated immediately

For help finding a vaccine, visit or call 1-800-232-0233.