6 Fermented Foods For Better Gut Health

Did you know that eating fermented foods can enhance the diversity of the gut microbiome, which reduces inflammation and improves immune response?

If you did not know this, it’s okay. New research is only beginning to unlock the exciting connections between diet, gut microbiome, and body response. A research paper published by Stanford Medicine this July was one of the first formal efforts to delve into the powerful effects of fermented foods on gut health, in particular.

So What Exactly Is Fermentation?

Humans have been fermenting foods for thousands of years. Fermentation is a metabolic process that utilizes live microbes such as bacteria or yeast to create a chemical reaction. In the absence of oxygen, these microorganisms will break down carbohydrates such as sugars and starches into different compounds altogether. This is how simple yeast can turn barley malt into carbonated, alcoholic beer, or how grapes become wine. Fermentation is a natural, nutritious preservation process. You can easily ferment foods yourself, find them on many restaurant menus, or purchase them at a local grocery store!

Why Do Fermented Foods Help The Gut?

Millions of microbes live in your gut, intestines and colon. Known as the gut microbiota, this system of bacteria helps digest food as well as plays a role in your overall health, immune response, metabolism and even mental health. While each person’s unique gut composition is influenced by genetic makeup, your lifestyle can also impact the quality of your gut microbiome. Factors such as your daily levels of exercise and diet can greatly impact the diversity and functionality of gut microbiota.

The live microorganisms found in fermented foods are a source of probiotics, which have innumerable health benefits. These natural probiotics aid the immune system, and in doing so, boost the body’s response to pathogens. Plus, the enzymes and lactic acid created in the fermentation process helps better absorb nutrients such as Vitamin B and C. The full extent of the benefits of fermented foods are only beginning to be realized.

6 Fermented Foods For Better Gut Health

1. Plain Yogurt – Plain yogurt is low calorie, low sugar, and teaming with beneficial probiotics. Add fresh fruit, oatmeal, or granola to make the perfect gut-boosting breakfast.

2. Kombucha – Kombucha is a popular fermented tea beverage. It is carbonated, with a bitter, fruity taste. A single bottle can have as little as 50 calories and millions of good bacteria. Keep in mind that there are many different brands on the market including options without added sugar.

3. Tempeh – Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, pressed together. Similar to tofu, it is a great meat substitute to be cooked, fried, or baked. It is also a source of antioxidants, probiotics, and is high in protein.

4. Kefir – Kefir is a tangy, yogurt-like beverage made of fermented kefir grains. It is proven to reduce inflammation, strengthen bones, and even reduce symptoms of lactose-intolerance in some people.

5. Kimchi – Kimchi is a Korean dish made of fermented cabbage or similar vegetables like radishes. It can be eaten alone or used as a topping on sandwiches, salads, pasta, etc. You can find it in most grocery stores. Studies have found that it may improve insulin resistance and lower cholesterol.

6. Sauerkraut – Another form of fermented cabbage, sauerkraut is plentiful in fiber, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. It’s also low calorie, and can be put on/in just about anything.

Within recent years, the gastrointestinal microbiome has become an increasingly popular area of scientific study due to its close link to human health and wellbeing. Not only does a person’s gut microbiome help with the digestion of food, but it also plays an important role in supporting the body’s immune system. Future research will no doubt provide additional insight about ways we can improve and support our body’s gut health.

For more information about improving your gut health or other digestive conditions, reach out to Gastroenterology Health Partners (GHP) today. Our clinicians have a passion for seeking out and refining new treatments and advanced solutions for those suffering from disorders of the digestive system. Each of our physicians offers expert specialization, evaluating and treating the entire spectrum of digestive conditions. To learn more about the treatment options available to you, schedule an appointment at one of our locations throughout Louisville, Lexington, and Southern Indiana.

Getting Ready For A Colonoscopy Prep When You Tend To Be Constipated

Preparing for your colonoscopy is important because it enables your physician to visibly access all areas of your colon to provide the best screening possible. A successful prep – one where your colon is thoroughly cleansed in advanced – makes it easier for your gastroenterologist to do their job thoroughly and accurately. When patients do not have a successful colonoscopy preparation, and stool is still visible in the colon, it makes it much harder for your doctor to do a thorough evaluation.

If you’re a person that tends to struggle regularly with constipation, the colonoscopy prep may be a bigger concern. You may wonder if the prep will actually work and feel an added worry about how this relates to the actual procedure. Fortunately, there are some additional things you can do a week or so in advance to make the entire process easier and more successful.

People who are often constipated frequently have a longer, tortuous colon which may be more challenging to completely empty out. In these cases, your doctor may provide some additional guidance regarding your prep.  Follow along for some helpful suggestions for preparing for your colonoscopy if you tend to be constipated.

8 Things To Know If You Are Preparing For A Colonoscopy And Are Often Constipated

1. You should tell your doctor in advance that you struggle with constipation. People who tend to be constipated may have to think about their colonoscopy prep further in advance than those who are not. Make sure to let your doctor know in advance if constipation is something that you struggle with frequently. Depending on your symptoms and medical history, your doctor may advise additional things like Dulcolax to help make sure your colonoscopy prep is a success.

2. Ask your doctor about medications, vitamins and supplements you normally take. You may be advised to adjust your normal routine in some way depending on your situation.

3. Cut out high fiber foods several days before your procedure. This includes things like raw fruits and vegetables, canned and fresh corn, whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, popcorn, and wheat bread, all kinds of nuts, and seeds (including sunflower, sesame, and poppy). Focus instead of non-fibrous foods like soups (without vegetables), eggs, yogurt, white bread and puddings.

4. Your doctor may advise you to begin the clear liquid diet for your prep a day early (two days in advance). This involves avoiding solid foods and consuming clear liquids that are NOT red, blue, or purple in color. This includes things like gelatin, clear broth, sports drinks with electrolytes, black coffee, fruit juice like apple or white grape, and popsicles.

5. It can be helpful to drink lots of extra water the week leading up to your procedure to make sure you are very well hydrated. Not only is hydration a key part of addressing constipation, but it also may help to make your overall prep experience easier. Keep in mind that if you tend to drink caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea, these tend to have a dehydrating effect on your body, and you may need to compensate with additional water.

6. Make the time to deal with your worry and stress. Sometimes constipation is exacerbated by stress. It is important that you recognize and deal with this if possible. Find ways to help yourself relax. Consider trying mindfulness, meditation and/or breathing exercises, listen to relaxing music, and engage in other healthy practices that help you feel calmer and more relaxed.

7. Prioritize a healthy routine including getting enough sleep leading up to the procedure. While it is always important to focus on a healthy routine, including getting enough sleep each night, it may become even more important the week leading up to your colonoscopy. This can help you feel your best for the procedure, enabling you to follow the prep with greater ease, also reducing your level of stress and worry.

8. Don’t be embarrassed, constipation is something many people experience. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney diseases, constipation is common among people of every age and population in the U.S. Approximately 16% of adults experience symptoms of constipation on a regular basis, with this number increasing with age, to a third of adults 60 years and older.

Data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that upwards of one in three adults ages 45 to 75 has not had a colonoscopy, the recommended screening for colorectal cancer. While there are many reasons why people may opt to avoid this recommended procedure, concerns about what is required to prepare for the exam certainly play a role for some.

The experienced team of medical professionals at Gastroenterology Health Partners is committed to making every patient’s experience with a colonoscopy as low stress and easy as possible. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Gastroenterology Health Partners today at a location near you.

Coronavirus Updates

October 7, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our eightieth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Lexington-Fayette Coronavirus Information

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September 30, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our seventy-ninth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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September 20, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our seventy-eighth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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September 13, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our seventy-seventh weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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September 7, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our seventy-sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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August 30, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our seventy-fifth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures.

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August 25, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our seventy-fourth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures.

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August 11, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our seventy-third weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures.

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August 6, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our seventy-second weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures.

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July 28, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our seventy-first weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures.

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July 21, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our seventieth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures.

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July 14, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our sixty-ninth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures.

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July 8, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our sixty-eighth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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June 24, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our sixty-seventh weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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June 17, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our sixty-sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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June 10, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our sixty-fifth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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June 3, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our sixty-fourth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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May 27, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our sixty-third weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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May 20, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our sixty-second weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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May 13, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our sixty-first weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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May 6, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our sixtieth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 29, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our fifty-ninth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 22, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our fifty-eighth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 15, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our fifty-seventh weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 8, 2021

In order to best protect our staff and patients, we are continuing to require that everyone wears a mask in all of our offices, including those in Indiana where the mask mandate has recently been lifted. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

This is our fifty-sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 1, 2021

This is our fifty-fifth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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March 25, 2021

This is our fifty-fourth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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March 18, 2021

This is our fifty-third weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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March 11, 2021

This is our fifty-second weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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March 4, 2021

This is our fifty-first weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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February 25, 2021

This is our fiftieth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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February 18, 2021

This is our forty-ninth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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February 11, 2021

This is our forty-eighth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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February 4, 2021

This is our forty-seventh weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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January 28, 2021

This is our forty-sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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January 21, 2021

This is our forty-fifth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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January 14, 2021

This is our forty-fourth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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January 7, 2021

This is our forty-third weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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December 31st, 2020

This is our forty-first weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find
updated facts and figures.

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Vaccine and treatment progress
    • The FDA has granted emergency use authorization for two coronavirus vaccines: one from Pfizer/BioNTech and one from Moderna. Both Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have shown similar efficacy levels of 95%, and both vaccines require two doses administered several weeks apart.
    • Senior US government officials have started receiving their vaccinations and the CDC is recommending that essential frontline workers such as health care workers and nursing home staff as well as nursing home residents, older adults over 74 and those with previous underlying health conditions be among those first in line to receive theirs.
    • Check on this treatment tracker from the New York Times to see what treatments are being used and what level of effectiveness and safety each has.
  • Coronavirus cases surge across the United States
    • Coronavirus cases continue to spike in the United States.
    • Kentucky and Indiana continue to see record-breaking coronavirus case numbers as well.
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. See the full list here.
      • Private social gatherings are limited to a maximum of two households and a maximum of eight people per an executive order December 14th.
      • All public and private schools (K -12) to cease in-person instruction. Middle and high schools will remain in remote or virtual instruction until at least Jan. 4, 2021.
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On Thursday, December 10, Governor Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-50. This order increases some restrictions in Indiana between December 13 and January 3, as the state sees continued growth in coronavirus cases. Restrictions include postponing non-emergency surgeries and canceling local health department waivers on social gathering restrictions. You can read the order here and detailed requirements here.
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here.

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December 17, 2020

This is our fortieth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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December 10, 2020

This is our thirty-ninth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Lexington-Fayette Coronavirus Information

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December 3, 2020

This is our thirty-eighth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Vaccine and treatment progress
    • On Wednesday, December 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised guidelines for people exposed to coronavirus. Previously, a 14 day quarantine was recommended if you had a potential exposure. The CDC still recommends this as the best way to mitigate disease spread. However, there are two new alternatives in light of more research. Quarantine can end after 10 days if you do not develop symptoms, or after 7 days if you develop no symptoms and also test negative. 
    • On Wednesday, December 2, the United Kingdom authorized emergency use for the Pfizer/BioNTech developed vaccine. 
    • Several potential vaccines are in final testing phases. 12 are currently in Phase 3 trials. Check out this vaccine tracker from the New York Times to see more about each potential vaccine’s progress. 
    • Check on this treatment tracker from the New York Times to see what treatments are being used and what level of effectiveness and safety each has. 
  • Coronavirus cases surge across the United States
    • Coronavirus cases remain high in the United States.
    • Kentucky and Indiana continue to see record-breaking coronavirus case numbers.
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. See the full list here.
    • On November 30, Governor Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack announced that Kentucky will receive around 38,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine as early as mid-December. These initial vaccines will be allocated to Long-Term Care Facilities and health care workers in hospitals. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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November 25th, 2020

This is our thirty-seventh weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Vaccine and treatment progress
    • Drug companies Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Several others remain in development. Check out this vaccine tracker from the New York Times to see more about each potential vaccine’s progress. 
    • A recent analysis found that the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective. It is expected to be the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive FDA authorization and anticipates delivering doses before the end of 2020. 
    • Check on this treatment tracker from the New York Times to see what treatments are being used and what level of effectiveness and safety each has. 
  • Coronavirus cases surge across the United States
    • Coronavirus cases continue to spike in the United States.
    • Kentucky and Indiana continue to see record-breaking coronavirus case numbers as well. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. See the full list here.
    • Governor Beshear’s new restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus went into effect on Friday, November 20th and will remain in effect until December 13th. 
      • Restaurants and bars are not open for indoor food or beverage consumption. Carryout and delivery are encouraged as well as socially distance outdoor seating.
      • Private social gatherings are limited to up to eight people from a maximum of two households.
      • Gyms, fitness centers, pools, and other indoor recreation facilities are limited to a 33% capacity. Group classes, team practices and competitions are prohibited. Masks must be worn while exercising.
      • Venues, event spaces and theaters will be limited to 25 people per room. This applies to indoor weddings and funerals, but excludes in-person worship services, for which the Governor will provide recommendations Thursday.
      • Office-based businesses are limited to a 33% capacity for employees. All employees who are able to work from home must do so and all businesses that can close to the public must do so.
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
    • On November 13, Governor Holcomb issued an executive order effective through December 12th, detailing a color-coding system for counties in Indiana that details necessary steps to curb the spread of COVID-19. Read the executive order here and the county metrics and requirements here.  
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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November 19, 2020

This is our thirty-sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Vaccine and treatment progress
    • On Monday, November 16, biotechnology company Moderna announced significant early trial results for its coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine is 94.5% effective. 
    • On Monday, November 9, pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced positive early trial results for its coronavirus vaccine. An analysis found that the Pfizer vaccine was over 90% effective.
    • Several potential vaccines are in final testing phases. 12 are currently in Phase 3 trials. Check out this vaccine tracker from the New York Times to see more about each potential vaccine’s progress. 
    • Check on this treatment tracker from the New York Times to see what treatments are being used and what level of effectiveness and safety each has. 
  • Coronavirus cases surge across the United States
    • Coronavirus cases continue to spike in the United States.
    • Kentucky and Indiana continue to see record-breaking coronavirus case numbers as well. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. See the full list here.
    • On Wednesday, November 18, Governor Beshear announced new restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 
      • All public and private K-12 schools will close to in-person instruction starting Monday through the end of the semester (The only exception is for elementary schools in counties outside a red zone, which can reopen on December 7 if the school follows guidelines).
      • Beginning Friday, November 20 and lasting until Dec. 13:
  • All restaurants and bars will close to indoor dining services. Outdoor dining is still allowed, with some limitations.
  • Gyms are limited to 33% capacity, and no group classes or indoor games are allowed. Masks are required.
  • Indoor gatherings should be limited to two families, not exceeding a total of eight people.
  • Attendance at weddings and funerals is limited to 25 people.
  • Professional services should have employees work from home when possible and limit their offices to 33% capacity.
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
    • On November 13, Governor Holcomb issued an executive order detailing a color-coding system for counties in Indiana that details necessary steps to curb the spread of COVID-19. Read the executive order here and the county metrics and requirements here.  
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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November 12, 2020

This is our thirty-fifth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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November 5, 2020

This is our thirty-fourth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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October 29, 2020

This is our thirty-third weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Vaccine and treatment progress
    • Several potential vaccines are in final testing phases. 11 are currently in Phase 3 trials. Check out this vaccine tracker from the New York Times to see more about each potential vaccine’s progress. 
    • Check on this treatment tracker from the New York Times to see what treatments are being used and what level of effectiveness and safety each has. 
  • Coronavirus cases surge across the United States
    • Coronavirus cases have spiked in the United States recently, with record-breaking daily numbers for several consecutive days. Daily new cases are now exceeding previous highs from July, and continue to rise. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. See the full list here.
    • On October 26, Governor Beshear issued new recommendations for counties in the red zone (25 or more average daily cases per 100,000 people). The recommendations are: 
      • Government offices that do not provide critical services should have their workers performing their duties virtually.
      • Employers should have employees who can work from home effectively work from home as much as possible.
      • Reduce in-person shopping and return to curbside pickup as much as possible.
      • Order takeout, avoid dining in at restaurants or bars.
      • Prioritize businesses that follow COVID-19 measures.
      • Do not host gatherings of any size.
      • Avoid nonessential activities outside the home.
      • Pause high-contact sports, minimize crowds at sporting events.
      • Follow all other COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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October 22, 2020

This is our thirty-second weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Vaccine and treatment progress
    • Several potential vaccines are in final testing phases. 11 are currently in Phase 3 trials. Check out this vaccine tracker from the New York Times to see more about each potential vaccine’s progress. 
    • Check on this treatment tracker from the New York Times to see what treatments are being used and what level of effectiveness and safety each has. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. See the full list here.
    • On October 19, Governor Beshear signed an executive order that ends the statewide moratorium on disconnections for nonpayment on Nov. 6, but takes additional steps to help Kentuckians. The executive order designates $15 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for the Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund, which will provide relief for Kentuckians at risk of natural gas, water, wastewater or electric service disconnection. The order will also require utilities to create a payment plan for residential customers that runs no less than six months. It will continue to waive late fees on utility bills for residential customers through Dec. 31, 2020. Read the order here
    • On October 16, ​The Kentucky Department for Public Health announced a draft plan for distributing a coronavirus vaccine to local health departments and health care organizations. Read the plan draft here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
    • On October 20, the Indiana Department of Health issued a draft coronavirus vaccine distribution plan. You can read the plan draft here
    • On October 15, Governor Holcomb issued an extension of Stage 5 of reopening until November 14. Read the order here
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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October 15, 2020

This is our thirty-first weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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October 8, 2020

This is our thirtieth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Vaccine progress
    • Several potential vaccines are in final testing phases. 11 are currently in Phase 3 trials. Check out this vaccine tracker from the New York Times to see more about each potential vaccine’s progress. 
  • CDC updated its ‘How Coronavirus Spreads’ informational webpage 
    • The CDC recently acknowledged that the coronavirus can spread further than six feet in some instances. Here is an excerpt from their update: “Today’s update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area.  In these instances, transmission occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise.  Such environments and activities may contribute to the buildup of virus-carrying particles.” You can read the full update here
    • See the How Coronavirus Spreads webpage here
  • White House coronavirus outbreak
    • On Thursday, October 1, President Trump announced he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus. This came soon after a positive test for Hope Hicks, a political advisor for the president. 
    • Since then, at least seven other administration officials and 13 other people who had been in close contact with the president have tested positive. 
    • On Friday, October 2, President Trump was admitted to Walter Reed Hospital Bethesda, Maryland for monitoring and treatment for the coronavirus. He left the hospital and returned to the White House on Monday, October 5. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. See the full list here.
    • On October 1, ​Governor Beshear and Dr. Stack announced guidance for Halloween. Read the guidelines here
    • On September 29, Governor Beshear announced that under a new Official Order from Transportation Secretary Jim Gray, the mail-in and drop box options for driver’s licenses were extended to licenses bearing an expiration date as late as Feb. 28, 2021, with all such renewals to be processed by March 31, 2021.
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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October 1, 2020

This is our twenty-ninth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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September 24, 2020

This is our twenty-eighth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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September 17, 2020

This is our twenty-seventh weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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September 10, 2020

This is our twenty-sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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September 3rd, 2020

This is our twenty-fifth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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August 27, 2020

This is our twenty-fourth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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August 20, 2020

This is our twenty-third weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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August 13, 2020

This is our twenty-second weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
  • Midwest
    • The Midwest continues to see a rise in coronavirus cases. 
  • Progress on vaccine research and testing
    • A number of potential coronavirus vaccines have advanced to later phases of testing. A few have started Phase III Efficacy Trials, in which vaccines are given to thousands of people and placebos are given to others, and researchers wait to see how many people given the vaccine get infected versus those given a placebo. 
    • One of these trials receiving the most press attention in the United States is being conducted by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health. The first Phase III trial began on July 27. Eventually, around 30,000 people will be enrolled in the trial. 
    • See an overview of all potential vaccines and their relative progress in this tracker by the New York Times. 
    • In the United States, the FDA previously released a statement in June that any vaccine would need to protect at least 50% of people to be considered effective. 
    • On August 11, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) announced an agreement with Moderna, Inc. to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Read more here
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. See the full list here.
    • On August 11, allowed bars to reopen at 50% capacity and restaurants to increase capacity back to 50% for indoor dining. There will be an 11pm closing time mandated, with food and drink service having to end at 10pm. 
    • On August 10, recommended that school districts delay in-person learning until at least September 28. 
    • On August 6, extended the mask mandate for an additional 30 days. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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August 6, 2020

This is our twenty-first weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
    • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Midwest
    • The Midwest continues to see a rise in coronavirus cases, with Montana, Oklahoma, and Missouri experiencing some of the largest increases in percentages of infections in the past week or so. 
  • Progress on vaccine research and testing
    • A number of potential coronavirus vaccines have advanced to later phases of testing. A few have started Phase III Efficacy Trials, in which vaccines are given to thousands of people and placebos are given to others, and researchers wait to see how many people given the vaccine get infected versus those given a placebo. 
    • One of these trials receiving the most press attention in the United States is being conducted by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health. The first Phase III trial began on July 27. Eventually, around 30,000 people will be enrolled in the trial. 
    • See an overview of all potential vaccines and their relative progress in this tracker by the New York Times. 
    • In the United States, the FDA previously released a statement in June that any vaccine would need to protect at least 50% of people to be considered effective. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. See the full list here.
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On July 30, Governor Holcomb ordered all counties in Indiana to extend Stage 4.5 of reopening to August 27. He also extended the prohibition on residential rental property evictions and mortgage foreclosures. He additionally ordered that all public and private K-12 schools have all students, staff, faculty, volunteers, vendors, and visitors wear a face covering or shield when on school grounds or in school buildings and facilities. Read the order here
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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July 30, 2020

This is our twentieth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of July 28, 52,942,145 total viral tests have been reported and 5,046,506 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 10% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Midwest at risk of surge in cases
    • Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee are showing warning signs of potential surges in coronavirus cases. Positive case numbers and positivity rates have been rising significantly in all three states over the past few weeks. 
    • Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, visited Kentucky on July 26 and recommended that the state close bars and reduce restaurant capacity to curb a potential surge. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On July 27, Governor Beshear announced new measures to curb a rising number of coronavirus cases in Kentucky. He announced that bars would close for two weeks starting July 28 and restaurant indoor capacity would be reduced to 25% of pre-pandemic capacity. He also recommended public and private schools avoid in-person instruction until the third week of August. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On July 24, Governor Holcomb issued a 30 day statewide mask order in effect starting July 27. All Indiana residents 8 and older are required to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, outdoor public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible, and while using public transportation. Read the order here
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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July 23, 2020

This is our nineteenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of July 22, 51,680,022 total viral tests have been reported and 4,878,379 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 10% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Emerging research
    • There is emerging evidence that the coronavirus can spread through small particles in the air. These smaller particles, which can spread when people talk or breathe, were previously not thought to be the main method of transmission- larger respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes were. This research may change recommendations and guidelines for masking and distancing in indoor spaces. Read more here
  • Increasing case numbers across the United States
    • The United States has seen coronavirus cases surge in recent weeks, with particularly high rates of increase in Southern and Western states including Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas. The seven day average of new cases across the United States stands just over 66,000.
  • Kentucky
    • Cases have started to rise significantly in Kentucky over the past two weeks, with the total case number growing past 24,000 and some of the highest single day case increases being recorded. 
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On July 20, the Kentucky Department of Public Health issued a new travel advisory that recommends a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers who went to any of eight states – Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas – that were reporting a positive coronavirus testing rate equal to or greater than 15%. The advisory also includes Mississippi, which is quickly approaching a positive testing rate of 15%, and the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico. Read more here
      • On July 20, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued a new order that pulls back on guidance covering social, non-commercial mass gatherings. On June 29, the original guidance was eased to allow for gatherings of 50 or fewer people. The new order returns the guidance to allow only for such gatherings of 10 or fewer people. The guidance, which does not apply to weddings, restaurants, retail or other public venues, went into effect on July 20 at 5 p.m. Read the order here
  • Indiana
    • Indiana has also started to see a rise in coronavirus cases after weeks of slow decline. 
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On July 16, Governor Holcomb ordered a continuation of Stage 4.5 of reopening Indiana (except for Elkhorn County) in light of increased coronavirus spread. This extension pushes Stage 5 to August 1. Read more here
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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July 16, 2020

This is our eighteenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of July 14, 41,761,392 total viral tests have been reported and 3,754,729 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 9% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Emerging research
    • There is emerging evidence that the coronavirus can spread through small particles in the air. These smaller particles, which can spread when people talk or breathe, were previously not thought to be the main method of transmission- larger respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes were. This research may change recommendations and guidelines for masking and distancing in indoor spaces. Read more here
  • Increasing case numbers across the United States
    • The United States has seen coronavirus cases surge in recent weeks, with particularly high rates of increase in Southern and Western states including Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas. The seven day average of new cases across the United States stands just over 60,000, over three times higher than new case averages a month ago. 
  • Kentucky
    • Cases have started to rise significantly in Kentucky over the past week, with the total case number growing past 20,000 and some of the highest single day case increases. 
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On July 14, reminded Kentuckians that they can report noncompliance with coronavirus mandates through the reporting hotline at 833-KY SAFER (833-597-2337) or online at https://govstatus.egov.com/kysafer
      • On July 10, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Department for Public Health issued an order related to health insurers and licensed clinician’s COVID-19 testing. Read the order here
      • On July 9, signed an executive order requiring Kentuckians to wear face coverings under several circumstances for the next 30 days. There are several exemptions to the order, including children who are 5 or younger and any person with a disability or a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from safely wearing a face covering. Read the order here
  • Indiana
    • Indiana has also started to see a rise in coronavirus cases after weeks of slow decline. 
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On July 8, issued a coronavirus screening guide for parents to use each day before school to help them decide if they need to keep their child/children home. Read the guide here
      • On July 7, issued guidance on when students, faculty, and staff can return to school after showing symptoms. 
      • Read documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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July 9, 2020

This is our seventeenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of July 9, 39,208,278 total viral tests have been reported and 3,487,780 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 9% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Emerging research 
    • There is emerging evidence that the coronavirus can spread through small particles in the air. These smaller particles, which can spread when people talk or breathe, were previously not thought to be the main method of transmission- larger respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes were. This research may change recommendations and guidelines for masking and distancing in indoor spaces. Read more here
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On June 30, ​announced that the deadline to apply for Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) has been extended until the end of August. P-EBT provides equivalent funding for meals that students would have been provided in school this spring without the closures due to COVID-19. Read more here.
      • On June 30, ​announced Kentuckians who are uninsured can apply for short-term coverage through Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility. Families can apply online at chfs.ky.gov or benefind.ky.gov, by contacting an application assistant at healthbenefitexchange.ky.gov or by calling 855-459-6328. Initial coverage ends two months after the application month, unless the person applies for regular Medicaid or Presumptive The state is extending Presumptive Eligibility benefits for three months for anyone who already applied and whose coverage was previously set to end June 30. Read more here
      • On June 30, announced the state has hired Ernst & Young to help begin immediately processing outstanding claims that resulted from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On July 6, created a COVID-19 Screening Decision Tree for schools as they prepare to reopen. See the document here
      • On July 1, announced Indiana would delay its transition to stage 5 of reopening. Instead, starting on July 4 and continuing through July 17 (for all counties except Elkhart), Indiana will enter phase 4.5. Phase 4.5 is similar to phase 4, and is intended to pause reopening plans as coronavirus cases increase around the nation. Read the Executive Order here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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July 2, 2020

This is our sixteenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of July 1, 33,601,847 total viral tests have been reported and 3,194,381 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 10% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On June 29, visitation resumed at assisted living and personal care homes, group activities (10 or fewer) in facilities, communal dining and off-site appointments. On July 15, visitation will resume in nursing homes and in Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IIDs).
      • On June 24, Governor Beshear, Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman and Kevin Brown, interim commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education, released initial guidance for Kentucky schools looking ahead to opening in the fall. Read the guidance here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On June 29, issued guidance and timelines for visitation in Long-term Care Facilities. Read the guidance here
      • On June 26, created an FAQ document regarding COVID-19 planning for schools and local health departments. Read the document here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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June 25, 2020

This is our fifteenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of June 23, 30,110,061 total viral tests have been reported and 2,874,748 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 10% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On June 22, ​announced updated guidance beginning next week for many venues, including restaurants and bars. Read the requirements for restaurants and bars here. The new guidance also covers wedding venues and gatherings of 50 or fewer people. Read the requirements for gatherings of 50 or fewer people here
      • On June 18, ​announced the state would continue to expand in-person services to help Kentuckians resolve unemployment insurance claims. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On June 19, issued guidance on reducing indoor COVID-19 transmission through changing environmental factors. Read the guidance here
      • On June 18, updated guidance on making and wearing masks in public. Read the guidance here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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June 18, 2020

This is our fourteenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of June 16, 23,765,801 total viral tests have been reported and 2,523,345 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 11% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On June 16, gave updated guidance on public pools and gatherings of up to 50 people. Read the pool guidance here and the guidance on gatherings here
      • On June 15, ​announced that Kentucky is currently performing mass testing of all inmates and staff members at the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women (KCIW) in Shelby County. TThree staffers and 11 inmates recently tested positive for COVID-19. More than 270 of the facility’s 639 inmates have been tested thus far. Fortunately, no one from the facility has been hospitalized. Read more here
      • On June 15, announced that contact tracers will call people who may have been exposed from 1-844-KYTRACE (1-844-598-7223) to offer information and resources to keep them and others safe. Read more here
      • ​On June 10, announced churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship can begin hosting congregants at 50% of their pre-pandemic capacities. Read the guidelines here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On June 15, updated the Specimen Submission and Collection Guidelines. See the updated guidelines here
      • On June 12, announced the beginning of Stage 4 of reopening Indiana. Stage 4 will span June 12-July 3. Read the Executive Order here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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June 11, 2020

This is our thirteenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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June 4, 2020

This is our twelfth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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May 28, 2020

This is our eleventh weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of May 26, 15,183,888 total viral tests have been reported and 1,858,968 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 12% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On May 22, announced a new absentee ballot portal that is live online here. Voters in every county of the commonwealth can request a mail-in ballot for the June primary elections. The last day to apply for a ballot is June 15. The primary elections in Kentucky will be held on June 23.
      • On May 22, lifted the interstate travel ban. See the executive order here in English or here in Spanish. 
      • On May 21, provided an updated Healthy at Work schedule for June. See the full schedule here
      • On May 20, announced a $300 million award to city and county governments as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act established the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to reimburse local governments for expenses incurred in response to the public health emergency caused by COVID-19. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On May 21, announced that Stage 3 of Indiana’s opening would begin on May 22 for most of the state; Cass, Lake, and Marion counties, the hardest hit areas of the state, will enter Stage 3 later on June 1. Read more about Stage 3 here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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May 21, 2020

This is our tenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of May 19, 12,601,143 total viral tests have been reported and 1,699,375 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 13% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you currently are infected. 
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On May 19, announced that museums, outdoor attractions, aquariums, libraries and distilleries will be allowed to reopen with proper distancing and sanitization procedures in place starting June 8.
      • On May 18, announced the appointment of Mark Carter as executive adviser leading the contact tracing efforts in the Office of the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). Learn more about contact tracing in a video here
      • On May 14, announced that groups of 10 or fewer may gather again starting May 22 and the travel ban will expire on May 22. Read more here
      • On May 13, announced the next step for health care reopening. Hospitals and care facilities can begin non-emergency surgeries and procedures at 50% of their pre-COVID-19-era patient volume beginning May 13. Facilities will determine their patient capacities starting May 27 as long as progress continues.​
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On May 18, issued COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Guidelines for healthcare providers. Learn more here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 phases of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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May 14, 2020

This is our ninth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of May 13, 10,217,573 total viral tests have been reported and 1,510,924 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. That is a 15% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you currently are infected. 
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On May 7, announced that phase 2 of reopening the economy would start on May 22. Read more here
        • Phase 3 is planned to start on July 1. New Phase 2 reopening dates are now tentatively:
          • May 22 – Restaurants, with limited 33% capacity and outdoor seating
          • June 1 – Movie theaters, fitness centers
          • June 11 – Campgrounds, public and private
          • June 15 – Child care, with reduced capacity; and potentially low-touch and outdoor youth sports
      • On May 6, announced the beginning of Health Care reopening phase 2. This includes outpatient and ambulatory surgery and invasive procedures may resume. Read more here
      • On May 5, announced an aggressive testing plan for long-care facility staff and patients. Learn more here.
      • On May 4, announced a partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association to get personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer to small businesses as they prepare to reopen. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On May 11, created an interactive map of public wifi locations in Indiana. See the map here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 phases of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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May 7, 2020

This is our eighth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 30, 2020

This is our seventh weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 23, 2020

This is our sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of April 22, 97 public health labs in the United States have the capacity to test for the coronavirus. 
    • As of April 22, 5,116 specimens have been tested by CDC labs and 405,105 specimens have been tested by US public health labs. 
  • National
    • On April 16, the White House issued the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach to guide re-opening the economy. The guidelines outline criteria for different phases of reopening and specific guidance for employers, individuals, and state governments. Read more here
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 20, advised educational institutions to remain closed to in-person instruction through the rest of the school year.
      • On April 17, discussed benchmarks Kentucky must meet to re-open the economy, reflecting federal guidance from the White House on April 16. Learn more here
      • On April 16, announced Kentucky is joining a regional state partnership with Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana to coordinate plans to reopen regional economies when the time is right. Read more here
      • On April 15, announced the first stage of the Co-Immunity Project, a testing regime that will focus on comprehensive testing, centered on antibodies and developing donor plasma resources, starting with healthcare workers. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 16, announced Indiana is joining a regional state partnership with Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky to coordinate plans to reopen regional economies when the time is right. 
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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April 16, 2020 Coronavirus Update

This is our sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Quick Facts

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of April 14, 95 public health labs in the United States have the capacity to test for the coronavirus. 
    • As of April 15, 5,038 specimens have been tested by CDC labs and 316,889 specimens have been tested by US public health labs. 
  • National
    • Coronavirus stimulus payments to individuals have started to arrive as direct deposits in people’s bank accounts. Paper checks may take months to arrive for people who do not have bank account information on file with the IRS. 
      • On April 15, the IRS launched an online form that allows people to upload their bank account information so they can receive their stimulus payments more quickly. See the form here
      • The stimulus amounts are $1,200 for eligible individuals and $2,400 for eligible married couples filing jointly. Read more here for information on eligibility. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 12, announced a partnership with Kroger that will expand testing capability in Kentucky. Locations for drive-through testing will be announced throughout the next five weeks, with a goal to perform 20,000 additional tests in five weeks. Read more here
      • On April 9, expanded who is eligible for workers compensation if they are forced to quarantine to include grocery workers, child-care workers, and more. Read more here
      • On April 8, issued an Executive Order limiting the number of people allowed in stores that are open and limiting the number of shoppers per household to one adult. Read the order here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 15, launched a disaster program to give residents better access to food assistance. Read more here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here
  • Resource List

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April 9, 2020 Coronavirus Update

This is our fifth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Quick Facts

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of April 8, 95 public health labs in the United States have the capacity to test for the coronavirus. 
    • As of April 8, 4,925 specimens have been tested by CDC labs and 228,034 specimens have been tested by US public health labs. 
  • National
    • On April 3, the CDC issued guidance recommending wearing cloth face coverings in public areas like grocery stores and pharmacies, and in high-transmission areas. Read more here
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 5, announced an agreement with Gravity Diagnostics that provides up to 2,000 tests per day in Kentucky. The tests will be reserved for the area outside the ‘golden triangle’ (Louisville, Lexington, and northern Kentucky) where there is less infrastructure for testing. 
      • On April 4, adopted CDC recommendations to wear cloth face coverings in public.
      • On April 2, recommended school systems extend suspensions of in-person instruction to at least May 1. 
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 6, issued a new two week stay at home order. Read more here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here
  • Resource List

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April 2, 2020 Coronavirus Update

This is our fourth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Quick Facts

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March 26, 2020 Coronavirus Update

This is our third weekly update regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Quick Facts

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March 19, 2020 Coronavirus Update

This is our second weekly update regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Quick Facts

  • The coronavirus causing COVID-19 has now spread to 164 locations internationally (as of 3/18/20).
  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing: As of March 16, 89 public health labs in the United States have the capacity to test for the coronavirus. 
    • As of March 17, 4,255 specimens have been tested by CDC labs and 27,623 specimens have been tested by US public health labs. 
  • If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you may be, follow these steps
    • Stay home except to get medical care. Many people with mild symptoms will be able to recover at home. 
    • Call before going to get medical care. 
    • Avoid public transportation.
    • Separate yourself from others in your home. 
    • Limit contact with pets and animals.
    • Wear a facemask if you are sick. 
    • Cover coughs and sneezes. 
    • Clean your hands often. 
    • Clean high-touch surfaces every day. 
    • Monitor your symptoms and consult with a medical professional before receiving care. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights (see the full list here):
      • By 5pm on March 18, all public-facing businesses that can’t comply with CDC guidelines for social distancing must cease in-person operations. 
      • Restaurants and bars were ordered to close by 5pm on March 16. Food and beverage services are now restricted to carry-out, delivery, and take-out only. 
      • Primary elections have been postponed until June 23, 2020. 
      • All community gatherings are recommended to cancel or postpone.
      • All school districts were recommended to close in-person classes beginning March 16. All schools have done so and many are using e-learning technologies to continue instruction. 
      • Businesses are recommended to use telecommuting options and encourage working from home. 
      • Hospitals are recommended to cease non-elective procedures. 
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights (see the full list here):
      • Per CDC recommendations, all events with 50 or more people are advised to cancel or postpone. 
      • Restaurants and bars have been ordered to cease in-person services. Take-out and deliver services can still be provided. 
      • School districts are recommended to close. Most school districts have closed in-person learning and many are using e-learning technologies to continue instruction.
      • Hospitals are recommended to cease elective procedures. 
      • State employees are encouraged to use telecommuting options as much as possible. 
  • Resource List

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March 12, 2020 Coronavirus Update

As healthcare professionals, Gastroenterology Health Partners has a responsibility to be a trusted resource on relevant health topics for our patients. We will be posting weekly updates about COVID-19 (coronavirus) from reputable sources.

In our health care facilities, we are closely following guidance from the CDC and local and state health departments to inform our healthcare practices and procedures. With such a rapidly-evolving situation, it’s important that evidence informs our decisions and behaviors. We all have a responsibility to make the best informed decisions possible:

  • Seek out trusted, evidence-based sources of information.
  • Follow appropriate guidelines based on your individual situation and context.
  • Help stop social stigma against Chinese and Asian Americans, people who have gone through proper quarantine protocols, healthcare workers, and others who may be experiencing discrimination based on group identity.

Quick Facts

  • COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in China at the end of 2019. The coronavirus causing COVID-19 has now spread to over 100 locations internationally.
  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Symptoms
    • Symptoms include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
  • How does it spread?
    • Public health officials believe the virus spreads mainly person-to-person through respiratory droplets and mostly between people in close contact with each other (around 6 feet). It may spread via surfaces, but this is not thought to be the primary method of transmission.
  • Who is at risk?
    • Early data from people in China who contracted COVID-19 shows that older adults and people with chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Preventing illness
    • There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 currently. As such, avoiding exposure to the virus is the best way to prevent illness. You should clean your hands often, avoid close contact with sick people, stay home if you are sick, cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue or your elbow, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and wear a facemask if you are sick.
  • Steps to take if you are sick
    • If you are sick and think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, and develop a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
    • In general, self-isolate at home and follow other prevention guidelines when you are sick to help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Testing for COVID-19
    • As of March 10, 78 state and local public health labs across 50 states in the United States have the capacity to test up to 75,000 people (using CDC lab kits, not including commercially-available kits).
  • Resource List

Identifying Different Types of Colorectal Polyps

What Are Polyps?

Polyps are small growths of abnormal tissue, found projecting from the inner lining of the colon (large intestine). Polyps can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. Polyps are very common: In fact, an estimated 25 to 40% of Americans over the age of 50 develop colon polyps. While developing polyps is most associated with being 50 and older, other factors are also considered including: having a family history of polyps/colon cancer, being obese, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, a history of inflammatory bowel diseases, a poor diet, and other environmental factors. 

The vast majority of polyps are harmless, but they can also be precancerous or cancerous in nature. Polyps can take a long time to become cancerous, and are best to be removed upon identification. During a medical exam or colonoscopy, your doctor may identify and remove polyps. Larger or complex polyps are more likely to be cancerous, and can require additional procedures to remove. Colon polyps rarely cause any symptoms, which means scheduling a colorectal screening test is vital for identification.

Identifying Types of Polyps

There are two main categories of polyps: nonneoplastic and neoplastic. Neoplastic polyps are typically precancerous or cancerous, while nonneoplastic polyps are usually benign (non-cancerous). Within these categories, there are many types of polyps. Some of the most common include:

Types of Neoplastic Polyps

  • Adenomatous polyps (Adenoma): The most common type of polyp as well as the most common cause of colon cancer. Structurally, they’re described as tubular, villous, or tubulovillous. Tubular adenoma is less likely to develop into cancer, and makes up 70% of adenomatous polyps. Villous adenoma is flatter and more difficult to remove, and makes up 15% of adenomatous polyps. Tubulovillous is a mix of the two.
  • Serrated polyps: Serrated polyps cause 20-30% of colon cancers. They are divided into two categories: sessile serrated adenoma (SSA) and traditional serrated adenoma (TSA). SSA’s and TSA’s are very rare and almost always precancerous. 

Types of Nonneoplastic Polyps

  • Inflammatory polyps: Typically found in people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Usually benign.
  • Hamartomatous polyps: Rare. Usually caused by autosomal disorders. 
  • Hyperplastic polyps: A form of serrated polyp, but are very common and almost always benign. 

Polyp Shapes

Polyps generally grow in three different shapes: pedunculated, sessile, and flat. Pedunculated (polypoid) polyps grow out from the side of the inner lining of the colon like mushrooms, a clump of tissue on a thin stalk. Sessile polyps, on the other hand, do not have a stalk, but rather grow against the side of the colon. The least common shape is a flat polyp. Flat polyps grow completely flat, or depressed into the side of the colon. Sessile and flat polyps are generally more difficult to detect than pedunculated polyps.

Symptoms of Polyps

There are typically no signs of polyps. However, in some rare cases, they can be associated with symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation
  • Anemia caused by internal bleeding
  • Weakness or tiredness caused by anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Changes in stool color

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you experience any symptoms of colorectal polyps, it’s recommended that you consult a medical professional as soon as possible. Otherwise, most polyps will be diagnosed and treated through a screening test, like a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy. In some cases, polyps are too large or complex to be removed immediately and require further surgical procedures.

It’s also important to note that if you have a neoplastic polyp, like an adenoma or a serrated polyp identified and removed during your screening test, you’re still at an increased risk of developing cancer, and will need regular screenings for polyps. The type, amount, and size of the polyps identified will determine how often you need a screening. This can vary from 6 months to 10 years

The experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with various GI conditions including colorectal polyps. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and to schedule an appointment today.

 

Importance of Colon Screening in Younger Adults – Dr. Sohi Interviewed

Dr. Sunana Sohi of Gastroenterology Health Partners was recently featured in a WHAS-11 article and video about the increasing rates of colon cancer in younger adults.

The story featured Amanda Blackburn, a 37 year-old mother of two who was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2017. She received a diagnosis after coming to Dr. Sohi with her symptoms of rectal bleeding and a change in bowel habits.

Blackburn had no family history of colon cancer and knew very little about the disease, like many younger adults. “It wasn’t on my radar. The ‘C’ word wasn’t a thing for me,” she said.

Dr. Sohi was able to help Blackburn receive diagnosis and treatment.

“If you have symptoms, don’t wait. There are a lot of tests that can be done, including stool tests, but the number one, the gold standard is colonoscopy. That’s because it’s not only diagnostic but preventative, where we can find and remove small polyps before they become cancer,” Dr. Sohi said.

Read the rest of the Dr. Sohi’s write-up here.

Colon Cancer is not a disease of the elderly anymore; article

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The article also discussed the upcoming Kicking Butt 5K Run/Walk, scheduled for Saturday September 25th at the Louisville Waterfront Park. This event, sponsored by the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, was started in 2003 as a way to bring together cancer survivors and advocates, spread awareness, and encourage screenings. It’s not too late to sign up for the 5K, 1 mile, or virtual event, and support this worthy cause.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of colon cancer or another GI condition, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Sohi or one of the many experienced physicians at Gastroenterology Health Partners.

As the largest independent gastroenterology practice in the region, GHP is considered the only one of its kind providing results-orientated treatment for a full spectrum of digestive system disorders. Call to set up an appointment at one of our locations in Southern Indiana, Northeast & Central Louisville, and Lexington.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait To Get A Colorectal Cancer Screening

Are you on the fence about getting screened for colorectal cancer? Perhaps you think you’re too young to get cancer, or you don’t have a family history of it, or you’re anxious about the procedure. You push off the appointment, allowing yourself to think, “I’ll do it sometime soon…”

When it comes to colorectal cancer screenings, you shouldn’t ever wait. Regular screenings are recommended for those 45 years and older, and even younger if you have certain risk factors. For example, people with certain inherited conditions are at a higher risk for colon cancer, including those with Lynch syndrome and those with adenomatous polyopsis. You are also at higher risk if you suffer from certain inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s colitis, or ulcerative colitis.

Early detection is the key to effectively dealing with colorectal cancer. When detected early, colorectal cancer has a 95% survival rate. However, that rate drops to 25% if the cancer is not detected and spreads to other organs. 

Screening tests aren’t just used to identify existing cancer. Through screening, your doctor may find and eliminate precancerous polyps (abnormal tissue growths) in the rectum or colon, removing them before they even have the chance of becoming cancerous. Between 25-40% of adults in the United States are estimated to have colorectal polyps.

Colorectal Cancer Increases in Younger Populations 

While the overall occurrence of colorectal cancer has dropped in recent years (largely due to a rise in screenings), its rate among younger populations has actually increased. In fact, according to the American College of Gastroenterology, a millennial now has 2 times the risk of getting colon cancer and 4 times the risk of getting rectal cancer than someone from the baby boom generation. Research shows that rates in adults younger than 50 are continually increasing by 2%, every year. Mortality rates are also increasing.

What is causing this alarming change? Researchers attribute higher colorectal cancer rates in younger adults to a number of factors, including higher rates of obesity, more sedentary lifestyles, poor diet, and other environmental factors. A study released this May found a link between the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and colorectal cancer in women under 50. According to the study, women who drank two or more servings of sugary beverages had twice the risk of developing early-onset colorectal than those who consumed less. Furthermore, adolescents ages 13-18 who consumed sugary sodas had a 32% risk of eventually developing early-onset colorectal cancer. Research is only beginning to unlock certain lifestyle and dietary factors that play a role in developing colorectal cancer.

Colorectal Cancer and Covid-19

During the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdowns and closings forced many people to cancel or put off every type of screening test. Colorectal screening tests in particular decreased by over 90%. In the following months, the numbers of tests only increased to 50% of what they were before the pandemic began. This drastic decline in testing is associated with troubling data about cancer outcomes. In June 2020, the National Cancer Institute predicted an excess of 10,000 colorectal cancer or breast cancer related deaths in the U.S. over the next 10 years, just because of pandemic-induced delays in testing, diagnoses, and treatments. Remaining up-to-date on testing is more important now than ever. 

If you’re due for a colorectal screening test or appointment, but are concerned about Covid-19 safety, don’t hesitate to book an appointment at Gastroenterology Health Partners. We uphold a number of safety procedures in-office, including mask requirements, cleaning and sanitization practices, disinfecting common spaces, and upholding social distancing when possible. Maintaining your safety is of the highest importance to us, just as is providing you with colorectal screening tests such as colonoscopies, flexible sigmoidoscopies, and more. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment.

Pandemic Alcohol Intake and GI Health

The past year-and-a-half has been incredibly difficult for everyone. From hundreds of millions of deaths to the challenge of lockdowns, social isolation and economic hardship, no one has remained unscathed.

Many people have turned to harmful coping mechanisms to deal with the medical, psychological, and sociological problems brought on by pandemic-related stress. While research is still limited, studies suggest that alcohol consumption has increased greatly. The first week of the pandemic, alcohol sales increased by 54% and online alcohol sales increased by 262%. A cross-sectional survey of American adults published in December 2020 found that 60% of people reported increased drinking. 34% of people engaged in binge-drinking and 7% reported extreme binge-drinking.

The impact of increased alcohol consumption on gastrointestinal health is even more staggering. Studies presented at the 2021 Digestive Disease Week suggest a major surge in inpatient consults for alcohol-related gastrointestinal and liver diseases since the beginning of the pandemic. Waihong Chung, a research fellow for the Division of Gastroenterology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, conducted extensive research on the subject.

Chung found that during the initial lockdown phase of the pandemic, the number of in-person gastrointestinal appointments decreased by 27% (due to restrictions/closings). However, of those appointments, the proportion of consults for alcohol-related GI and liver diseases, such as hepatitis, pancreatitis, gastritis and cirrhosis increased by 59.6%! And, as lockdowns lifted, that percentage increased to 78.7%. Furthermore, patients with alcoholic hepatitis increased by 127.2% (since 2019) and the number of inpatient endoscopic procedures almost tripled.

Chung also contested that the occurrence of alcohol-related diseases could be much higher than reported, since many illnesses take time to manifest or show mild symptoms. Even if you seem to experience no ill-effects from binge-drinking, you should be aware that excessive alcohol is wreaking havoc on your gastrointestinal system. In the short-term, excessive alcohol causes intestinal inflammation and organ damage, alters intestinal microbiota, harms intestinal immunity and homeostasis, and damages the liver. In the long-term, you can suffer from alcohol-related gastrointestinal and liver diseases.

Unfortunately, the long-term effects of Covid-19 on alcohol misuse and overconsumption still have yet to be realized. For example, following the 2003 SARS epidemic, individuals in China who had been directly affected/involved were far more likely to abuse alcohol three years after the epidemic ended. The lasting psychological effects of the pandemic will likely increase alcohol misuse for years to come.

Besides causing fatal gastrointestinal conditions, alcohol can worsen existing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. If you or a loved one has been struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol during the pandemic, it’s recommended that you talk to your primary care doctor or seek medical help. There are behavioral, medical, and mutual-support-based treatment options available for you.

If you are struggling with gastrointestinal issues, induced by alcohol or by something else, seek experienced medical attention. The professional team of medical providers at Gastro Health Partners serves patients across the state of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Contact a location near you today for more information, or to schedule an appointment.

Understanding the Connection Between Exercise and Gastrointestinal Health

While we all know that the foods we consume have a significant impact on gut health, very little is often said for the influence of exercise and activity on the GI system. People usually exercise to get fit, lose weight, or socialize, unaware of the deeper functional benefits of regular activity.

Recent studies have only just begun to unlock insight into the powerful role of exercise in promoting digestion, gastrointestinal health, metabolic capacity, disease prevention, and long-term wellbeing.

Maintaining Regular Exercise is Key

A study conducted at the University of Illinois in 2018 found that regular exercise alters the entire gut microbiome. In the study, previously sedentary participants engaged in daily endurance activities for six weeks. Across the board, participants experienced an increase in both diversity and metabolic capacity of the gut microbiome.

Furthermore, scientists found a widespread increase in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), a subset of fatty acids that are produced by the gut microbiota. SCFAs are known to reduce inflammation, boost the metabolism, improve the immune system, improve neurogenesis and fight insulin resistance. In short—the more, the better!

After the study ended, participants stopped exercising. Interestingly, within weeks, their gut composition reverted back to how it was before the study. The effects of the exercise did not last. This proves that maintaining regular exercise is vital to improve and upkeep gut health.

The benefits of regular exercise were again reaffirmed in a 2019 study. In this study, insulin response in male participants was tested after no exercise, after one day of exercise, and again after three consecutive days of exercise. Research found that maintaining exercise over three days was significantly more effective at improving insulin response. A single day of isolated exercise had almost no benefit.

Exercise Can Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Regular exercise can also play a role in preventing colon cancer. In one study, exercise was reported to decrease the total number of intestinal polyps by 50% and the number of large polyps by 67%. Another study found that the risk of colon cancer decreased 40% in those who exercised more than 7 hours a week. In turn, over 40% of those diagnosed with colon cancer already suffered from a comorbid disease, such as diabetes, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart failure. The influence of exercise on preventing colon cancer cannot be overstated.

Exercise Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

Many people think that exercise needs to be high-intensity to really count. They push themselves too hard, and then get injured or burned out. We’ve all seen it before—your friend’s New Year’s resolution to go to the gym dissipating within days after they discover they don’t enjoy Pilates or bench pressing.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a big ordeal or a fancy gym membership. As the studies listed above have shown, what matters more than anything is consistency. Whether it be consistently walking 30 minutes a day, doing yoga poses in the morning, or jogging around your neighborhood—all that matters is that you keep it up. Long-term health and wellbeing comes from committing to an active lifestyle, above all else.

For more information about gastrointestinal health or to schedule an appointment with a board-certified gastroenterologist, contact Gastroenterology Health Partners today. Schedule an appointment by calling a location near you. For additional details, visit our contact us page.

Hirschsprung’s Disease: An Overview

Hirschsprung’s disease is a congenital condition that affects the large intestine. Here’s what you need to know. 

Causes and Risk Factors

Hirschsprung’s disease occurs when a baby is born missing nerve cells in their colon. Due to these missing nerve cells, they develop issues passing stool. While we do know that it’s a condition people are born with, the exact cause is not known. In some cases, it does occur in families. In fact, if one parent has the condition, their child has an increased chance of having the condition as well. In families with a child that has Hirschsprung’s disease, there’s between a 3% and 12% chance that if the parents have another baby, the baby will have the condition. 

Being a male is another risk factor for the condition. People with inherited conditions like Down’s syndrome and congenital heart disease are also at a higher risk of Hirschsprung’s disease. 

Symptoms

This condition can vary in severity, and as such so can its symptoms. In general, symptoms tend to appear right after birth. One well-known sign of the condition is if a newborn is unable to have a bowel movement within 48 hours of being born. Other common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting a green or brown substance, constipation, gas, and a swollen belly. Newborns are likely to be fussy if they have some of these symptoms. Older children with the condition can have some of the same symptoms, and others including fatigue, chronic constipation, and a failure to thrive. 

Diagnosing Hirschsprung’s Disease

As noted before, one key sign your child could have this condition is if they are unable to have a bowel movement in the first couple of days after birth. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam to check the child’s condition. They can perform a number of other tests as well. They can take a biopsy, a tissue sample, of your child’s colon to send off for lab testing to determine if there are nerve cells present or not. They can also insert contrast dye into your child’s bowel and perform an X-ray to visualize their colon. They can then check to see if there is a narrow section of the bowel (a section without nerves) and a swollen section behind it, a sign of Hirschsprung’s disease. 

Treatment

The most common way doctors treat this condition is through surgery. The pullthrough procedure is the most common approach, and can be done in a few ways. Ultimately, doctors first work to remove the abnormal part of the colon. They then attach the healthy section of the colon to the anus. Today, this is most often done through a laparoscopic surgery which is minimally invasive and results in fewer complications for children with the condition. The surgery leads to very positive outcomes in the majority of cases, and can fully treat the condition. 

There are some potential complications from surgery. Children can experience diarrhea, fecal incontinence, a delay in toilet training, and constipation. In some cases, these complications resolve over time. Children who have had this surgery are also at a higher risk of a bowel infection up to a year after the surgery. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with various GI conditions including Hirschsprung’s Disease. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence is a condition in which you are unable to control bowel movements. Here’s what you need to know. 

Causes and Risk Factors

Many things can cause fecal incontinence, and may occur in combination. For example, nerve damage in the rectum or anal sphincter, which can occur during childbirth, may be a cause. Muscle damage in the anal sphincter, also possible during childbirth, may prevent you from being able to hold stool back. Diarrhea can also be a cause, as loose stool is more difficult to retain in the rectum. Other potential causes include aging, hemorrhoid surgery, rectal prolapse, and IBS. 

Risk factors for fecal incontinence include being older than 65, being female, having late-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s, having a condition that causes nerve damage, and having a physical disability. If more than one of these apply to you, you have a heightened risk of developing the condition. 

Symptoms of Fecal Incontinence

With fecal incontinence, you are unable to control bowel movements. In some cases, this may be temporary due to having diarrhea, while in other cases it may be a chronic condition. Urge incontinence is one type of the condition, in which you may feel the sudden urge to defecate and are unable to control your bowels. In another case, called passive incontinence, you may not feel the urge to pass stool and pass it unknowingly. Fecal incontinence can be accompanied by other symptoms like diarrhea, gas, constipation, and bloating. 

Often times, people feel emotional distress as a result of having fecal incontinence. They are often reluctant to tell their doctor about the condition due to the social taboo around it. If you do experience fecal incontinence, please talk to your doctor- they can help you manage the condition. 

Diagnosis

Your doctor can diagnose fecal incontinence in several ways. They will start out by asking you about your symptoms and medical history, before performing a visual exam. Your doctor will likely visually examine your anus first. They can also perform a digital rectal exam, whereby they evaluate the strength and coordination of your sphincter muscles. They can also perform an anal manometry test to evaluate the function of your rectum. To visualize your sphincter and rectum, they can also perform other tests like a colonoscopy, an MRI, or anorectal ultrasonography. 

Treatment 

Doctors treat fecal incontinence based on what is causing the condition in your case. If there is a particular food that is causing diarrhea and incontinence, they will help you work to identify and remove it from your diet. If you have diarrhea or constipation, your doctor may recommend increasing your fiber intake through your diet or through supplements. They may also recommend bowel training if muscle damage is at play; here, you will work to exercise and strengthen the affected muscles to help you better control bowel movements. 

In some cases, you may need surgery. Doctors can perform a number of procedures to help repair muscle damage, nerve damage, and other underlying causes of incontinence. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with various GI conditions including fecal incontinence. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.