CYNTHIANA, Ky. (LEX 18) — Today marks one month since the first 5:00 coronavirus update with Gov. Andy Beshear.
Only one case was reported that day, and the positive result changed life in Harrison County as people knew it. Cynthiana is the town that brought us Joe B. Hall and the Walking Dead. On March 6, the city adopted a new title: the first with a known coronavirus case.
"Our first case wasn't really our first case. We just happened to find her," Dr. Crystal Miller with WEDCO District Health Department said.
Very quickly, one case increased to six positive cases. At one point, Dr. Miller says the health department was monitoring 200 people who came in contact with those patients. Schools shut down and the streets were quieter. Cynthiana was adjusting to a new normal a full week before Gov. Beshear started enacting restrictions statewide to promote social distancing.
"We are staying healthy at home," Karey Riddell said. "My husband's working at home. I'm home schooling and operate a restaurant that's currently closed."
We first met Riddell inside her restaurant, Burley Market & Cafe, four weeks ago. She was cleaning every surface and even walking food out to folks. This was a few days before restaurants were restricted to curbside and delivery.
After working through the restrictions for a time, Riddell says the challenge of owning a first year business and safety concerns led to the restaurant's temporary closing.
"It was a hard decision. But one that we feel is ultimately the best for us," Riddell said.
She is selling off some of her inventory to cover costs and help those that are still open. However, there is good news in Cynthiana. Riddell says the tight-knit community is coming together even more.
The city's oldest restaurant, Biancke's, is still in business for delivery and curbside pick-up. The owner told us he is rotating employee shifts to make sure everyone gets a little cash.
Dr. Miller says nine of the first 14 patients have recovered from coronavirus. The number of cases in Harrison County has slowed down, which to her shows that social distancing is helping.
"We can do this together. We need everybody on board," Dr. Miller said. "Let's all work together, and this will be short term pain for long term gain."