The weekend before Thanksgiving yielded two more COVID-related deaths in Hopkins County, and officials fear those numbers will only continue to rise as the holiday season approaches.
With 69 new cases reported from the weekend, the Hopkins County Health Department reported a total of 1,686 cases in the county since the pandemic began in March. Of those cases, 49 have died and 1,089 have recovered — leaving 550 active cases in the county.
The county, along with the majority of the state, is still considered red, according to a classification system used by the state that calculates an average of positive COVID-19 cases over a seven-day period.
Anything over a 25 case average is considered red, and on Sunday, Hopkins County averaged 65.9.
Health Department Director Denise Beach still recommends following the state mandates as far as wearing a mask and social distancing.
For Thanksgiving, the health department encourages people to avoid in-person gatherings especially with people who do not live in your household. Large gatherings — especially those held indoors — and crowded shopping areas are also considered high-risk areas.
Local businesses are continuing to work to stay open and safe.
In Dawson Springs, the Casey’s General Store closed over the weekend for in-depth cleaning even calling in a professional cleaning group.
Mary Beth Drennan, the general manager for the store, said the outside team disinfected the entire store including gas pumps and the parking lot.
“Things will not be taken lightly, we are very serious with the matter at hand,” she said in a Facebook post.
The store opened around 6 p.m. on Saturday night after cleaning.
“We were closed for 24 hours,” Drennan said on Monday. “ServPro was hired to come clean, and they did an excellent job. We are very pleased.”
City and county establishments continue to limit the amount of traffic allowed in offices.
Hopkins County Sheriff Matt Sanderson said at last Tuesday’s Hopkins County Fiscal Court meeting, that with COVID numbers on the rise he encourages citizens to pay for property taxes in alternative ways.
“I’m urging people to use other methods instead of in-person payments,” he said. “The lobby is still open, but it is not a big lobby and it is hard to socially distance. I ask if you do pay in-person, to please wear a mask.”
Sanderson said there were many ways to pay.
“There’s a drop box on the north side of the building out here,” he said. “We check it a couple times a day. Another way is mailing the taxes back to us with the return envelope. You can pay online at www.hopkinscountysheriff.com. If you use a credit card, there is a processing fee. You can also use an e-check online, which is the least expensive way to do it. It is just a $1.50 fee to pay online. There is a number on the bill where you can call and pay as well. The discount is through the end of this month.”
As of the meeting, Sanderson said just over 30% of property taxes have been collected so far.
“In the last month of November is usually the busiest because people are trying to get that discount,” said Sanderson.
Madisonville City Hall has already stopped in-person traffic handling business either online or through the drive-thru.
The Hopkins County Judicial Center has also stopped in-person traffic.
The Hopkins County Clerk’s Office implemented new operation practices and hours that began this week closing access to the office with only a few exceptions — including handicap placards, transfers, marriage licenses and notaries.
Clerk Keenan Cloern said these customers would use a queue system to enter the offices. Clerk office hours are now 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Monday through Friday.
With the increase in COVID-19 numbers, Gov. Andy Beshear passed down new mandates last week impacting gyms limiting the maximum capacity in gyms to 33% and prohibiting group classes; restaurants prohibiting indoor dining and service and event venues by limiting the number of people allowed in a room to 25.
Social gatherings are now limited to no more than two households with up to eight people total.
Beshear said these mandates were to be in place for three to six weeks.