Small town surge: COVID-19 cases rise in Lee County

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Posted at 4:04 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 19:24:25-04

LEE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Business is slow at Los Two Brother Mexican Restaurant on Main Street in Beattyville.

"Last week was as bad as it's ever been," Los Two Brother Manager Alexis Townsend said.

Lee County has seen a drastic spike in cases over the last ten days, pushing the county as a whole into the state's red zone for the first time since the start of the outbreak.

"Part of the reason we were green for so long is our community is very accepting of the procedures that have been put in place," said Lee County EMA/EMS Director Jon Allen.

But despite the best behaviors of almost everyone here, Allen said the town's assisted living facility recently had nearly 100 staff members and residents test positive.

"It's through no fault of their own," said Kentucky River District Health Director Scott Lockhard.

Lockhard said the facility has been following all protocols and testing regularly. But an outbreak there was always a concern.

"One of our biggest fears since the COVID-19 outbreak started is that it would hit one of our long-term care facilities," Lockhard said.

In an attempt to be a good neighbor and help achieve some level of containment, the Beattyville schools have reverted to NTI after only nine days of in-person learning. Community cases - outside the assisted living facility - have more than doubled in the last two weeks, so it's not only confined to the one facility. While some might view the school district's decision as an over-reaction, it's how residents of this small town go about watching out for one another.

"We're small, but we're mighty in the way we come together in these times," Allen said.

Lockhard took it a step further.

"I'd rather face a pandemic in a small community as we have here in Beattyville. And we have good support from our elected leadership," he added, before thanking the mayor and county judge-executive for the work they've been doing.