Following a press conference involving multiple local officials on Tuesday morning, Grayson County Judge Executive Kevin Henderson signed an order declaring a state of emergency in Grayson County in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

At press time Friday, at least one person had been tested in Grayson County for COVID-19, but there have been no positive cases of the virus locally.

The first to speak during Tuesday's press conference, following Henderson's introductions, was Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center CEO Wayne Meriwether, who said hospital staff have referred to this period as the "calm before the storm."

While information is changing by the hour, Meriwether said TLRMC is prepared. 

"We have our plan in place to address COVID-19," he said. 

TLRMC this week implemented strict visitor restrictions, as well as the cancellation of all locally performed elective procedures (those that are planned and will not endanger a patient's life should they be cancelled).

While Grayson County has not yet had a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, hospital officials expect that it will before the pandemic has subsided, Meriwether said. 

An individual who is diagnosed with COVID-19 is recommended to be off from work for 14 days, officials say. 

Currently, the hospital's patient capacity is manageable, despite receiving about 60 percent of its supplies due to limited availability, but local health care officials say precautions put in place by the federal, state, and local governments are warranted to stave off the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Joe Lee, of Leitchfield Pediatrics, said social distancing, including the closure of schools and businesses such as restaurants (with the exception of carry-out or drive-thru), is a vital, if inconvenient, part of this endeavor. 

"In addition to social distancing, you want to make sure you're washing your hands more than you've ever done it," Lee said, adding that people should also cover their cough - not with their hands, but with their elbow or a tissue.

It is also important to frequently wipe off surfaces hands may touch, according to Lee.

The issue at hand, Lee said, is that officials do not know how many people have COVID-19 and may not be aware of it or show symptoms, but by implementing social distancing early, it can prevent the virus from spreading before it infects a greater number of people than providers may be equipped to deal with. 

Lee was followed by Grayson County Public Health Director Josh Embry who asked the community to be patient with health care providers while they work to secure testing materials. 

Embry echoed Lee's sentiments by saying that, while he understands social distancing is an inconvenience, it not only protects citizens from potential exposure to the coronavirus, it also allows health care officials more time to prepare to respond to it. 

Grayson County Schools Superintendent Doug Robinson then addressed the recent school closure, which is, tentatively, in effect until April 13, but could potentially last longer.

On Monday, Grayson County Schools served 441 lunches to students through its Meals on the Bus program, and that number is expected to increase daily, with new stops being added as the weeks go on. 

"Some mobile food routes will be flexible depending on need," Robinson said. 

Anyone with questions is encouraged to call the Grayson County Board of Education or their child's school at one of the numbers listed below. 

Henderson then addressed the community directly, encouraging residents to help one another and make use of the resources available to them if they require assistance. 

"We're all in this together," Henderson said, adding that officials want to be "proactive and not reactive" to the situation.

He asked that residents follow the guidelines set by the state and federal governments and to reach out to their friends and neighbors and help them if needed. 

"If we all come together and try to make the best decisions, we'll be okay," Henderson said. 

He also asked residents to be patient with retailers and their employees, ensuring that they will not stop delivering items, and to be mindful of one another and not hoard items.

Henderson encouraged residents to remember local businesses during this time of economic strife and continue to support them by shopping locally. 

And finally, he said residents should not panic. 

For the latest updates on the coronavirus in Kentucky, visit kycovid19.ky.gov. Grayson County has also established its own website to address the situation at the local level, gcky.org. 

Additionally, to further the effort to assist Grayson Countians in need, Henderson shared the below list of contact phone numbers for local officials. 

Grayson County Judge Executive Kevin Henderson: 270-259-5000

Emergency Management Director Tony Willen: 270-971-1763

Deedee Whitely, Deputy Emergency Management: 270-971-1770

Grayson County Dispatch: 270-259-0303 (non-emergency) or 911; 270-259-2126; 270-259-2128

Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center: 270-259-9400

Centers for Disease Control (CDC): 800-232-4636

Kentucky COVID-19 Hotline: 800-722-5725

Grayson County EMS: 270-259-9601

Grayson County Alliance: 270-259-4000

Central Kentucky Community Action: 270-259-3500

Grayson County Health Department: 270-259-3141

Grayson County Board of Education: 270-259-4011

Grayson County High School: 270-259-4078

Grayson County Middle School: 270-259-4175

Lawler Elementary: 270-259-9322

Clarkson Elementary: 270-242-3061

Wilkey Elementary: 270-259-4058

Caneyville Elementary: 270-879-4211

Leitchfield City Hall: 270-259-4034

Clarkson City Hall: 270-242-6997

Caneyville City Hall: 270-879-9701

Grayson County Sheriff's Office: 270-259-3024

Leitchfield Police Department: 270-259-3850

Clarkson Police Department: 270-242-6997

Caneyville Police Department: 270-879-9701

Kentucky State Police: 270-766-5078