Coronavirus Updates

June 14th, 2022

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 112th weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Lexington-Fayette Coronavirus Information

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June 9th, 2022

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 111th weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

10 Things You Should Know About Hemochromatosis

Hemochromatosis is a medical condition where an abnormal amount of additional iron builds up in a person’s blood to the point of potentially causing bodily harm and damage to the liver, heart, endocrine glands, joints and more. Research suggests that in the U.S., approximately one out of every 300 non-Hispanic Caucasians suffers from hereditary hemochromatosis, with the majority being of northern European decent. 

The most common cause of hemochromatosis is hereditary and determined by genetics. Classic or hereditary hemochromatosis is a genetic condition that often does not appear until people hit middle age. 

Interestingly, hemochromatosis is significantly more common among males, with estimates suggesting that men are affected two to three times more frequently than women.  Additionally, the initial onset of this inherited disease tends to be slightly earlier in men.  This is because women are somewhat “protected” by menstrual blood loss earlier in life.  

For more information about hemochromatosis including important facts you should know, follow along.

10 Things to Know About Hemochromatosis 

  1. While hemochromatosis was initially discovered sometime during the 1800s, by 1935 it was known as an inherited condition resulting from too much iron in the body.
  2. While some people are asymptomatic, common symptoms associated with hemochromatosis include: fatigue, hyperpigmentation of the skin, pain in the joints, stomach pain, weight loss, and decreased libido. 
  3. Serious complications associated with hemochromatosis include diabetes mellitus, cirrhosis of the liver and heart failure.
  4. While most cases of hemochromatosis are caused by hereditary factors, it is also possible to get hemochromatosis from a buildup of iron due to things like blood transfusions used to treat severe cases of anemia.
  5. Hemochromatosis can lead to a variety of liver abnormalities including: hepatomegaly or liver enlargement, liver scarring/cirrhosis, portal hypertension, and liver disease. Additionally, hepatocellular carcinoma, a certain type of liver cancer, is sometimes associated with hereditary hemochromatosis. 
  6. Sometimes hemochromatosis impacts the color of a person’s skin, changing it to more of a bronze or gray coloring.  In the 1800s, it was called “bronze diabetes” and “pigmented cirrhosis.”  
  7. If you suffer from hemochromatosis, one of the most effective ways to lower the amount of iron in your body tends to be regularly scheduled removal of blood. 
  8. People who have family members (especially siblings) that are diagnosed with hereditary hemochromatosis may want to consider genetic testing.
  9. Hemochromatosis is often initially diagnosed with a blood test. When someone has a high ratio of iron to transferrin in their blood, it may suggest they are suffering from hemochromatosis.  The disease can be confirmed with a blood test to look for the genes causing hemochromatosis.  
  10. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, HFE, the gene that causes hereditary hemochromatosis, was first identified in 1996 on chromosome 6.

Hemochromatosis is a manageable condition that can be extremely serious if undiagnosed or left untreated. For more information or to arrange diagnostic testing, you should seek out assistance from a qualified medical professional. 

If you or someone you love is suffering from hemochromatosis, the experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you. Our clinicians have a passion for seeking out and refining new treatments and advanced solutions for those suffering from disorders of the digestive system. For more information or to schedule a gastroenterological medical evaluation, contact a Gastro Health Partners location near you.

 

Sudden Difficulty Swallowing? Here’s What It Is, And What Could Be Causing It

Ever experienced pain, discomfort, or difficulty while attempting to swallow? This condition is known as dysphagia. Dysphagia is highly common–around 13.5% of the population experiences it at some time–and it is caused by a variety of different medical conditions and diseases.

There are two main types of dysphagia: oropharyngeal and esophageal.

Oropharyngeal dysphagia is associated with the muscles of the mouth and upper throat. When muscles are weakened due to neurological and nervous system disorders, the act of swallowing may become difficult. This can also feel like a numbness of the throat, resulting in an inability to “feel” food. Multiple sclerosis, a stroke, Parkinson’s, and other brain disorders are associated with oropharyngeal symptoms.

Esophageal dysphagia is usually associated with a physical narrowing of the esophagus or motility issues of the esophagus and upper stomach. Some muscular conditions, such as muscle spasms, throat cancer, or diverticulum, can make it difficult to fully swallow food, resulting in discomfort. Physical blockages related to benign/cancerous growth or strictures may cause esophageal dysphagia.

Esophageal dysphagia is also a frequent symptom of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), or chronic acid reflux. GERD is a result of dysfunction of the esophageal sphincter, a muscle in the esophagus. Normally, when you swallow, the esophageal sphincter muscle relaxes to allow food and liquid to enter your stomach. In GERD, the muscle relaxes abnormally or weakens, allowing stomach acid to enter the esophagus. This results in chronic discomfort, heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, nausea, and dysphagia. In the long-term, GERD can lead to scarring and Barrett’s Esophagus, which is an abnormal change in the lining of the esophagus which can increase your risk for esophageal cancer.  

While dysphagia is most common in older populations, it can really happen to anyone. Dysphagia is almost always a symptom of another underlying condition. If you experience severe symptoms of dysphagia, seek immediate medical assistance. 

If you experience dysphagia as a symptom of GERD, consider consulting a gastroenterologist. There are ways you can address symptoms of GERD to reduce severity and chronic symptoms. Some risk factors of GERD include obesity, hiatal hernia, pregnancy, smoking, asthma, diabetes, overeating, and connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma. To learn more about heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD, click here. If you have been diagnosed with GERD and wish to manage symptoms through dietary choices, read our blog here.

If you are suffering from chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease, the experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you. Our clinicians have a passion for seeking out and refining new treatments and advanced solutions for those suffering from disorders of the digestive system. For more information or to schedule a gastroenterological medical evaluation, contact a Gastro Health Partners location near you.

 

Unlocking The Gut-Brain Connection | Mental Health Awareness Month 2022

May is #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth, a time to amplify the stories of the millions of Americans experiencing mental health conditions as well as promote valuable resources and information concerning mental health statistics and treatment options. Using the hashtag #TogetherForMH, you can share your story or explore other’s across social media platforms. 

During the pandemic, global prevalence of anxiety and depression has increased by at least 25%, according to the World Health Organization. Nearly 56% of all young adults report symptoms of anxiety and depression. What’s more, negative impacts of pandemic stressors have leached into daily life as well: 36% of adults report difficulty sleeping, 32% report issues with eating, 12% report increases in alcohol consumption and substance abuse, and 12% report worsening of pre-existing chronic conditions.  

In the midst of this unprecedented mental health crisis, finding treatment options that are beneficial and sustainable is of the utmost importance. Of course, seeking help can be difficult. Small steps, such as discussing your symptoms with your doctor, a psychiatrist, or even beginning with a trusted relative or friend, is essential. The National Institute of Mental Health has compiled these valuable resources, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Mental Health Information Glossary, and a Tips for Talking to Your Mental Health Provider Factsheet

What is the Gut-Brain Connection?

As gastroenterologists, we treat a variety of digestive conditions, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Colon and Colorectal Cancer, Heartburn, Acid Reflux, and GERD, Constipation, and much more. 

These digestive conditions may sound completely removed from mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, but they are actually explicitly linked. In recent years, we’ve discovered that there’s a “second brain” in the gut, often referred to as the enteric nervous system (ENS), which directly responds to physicochemical stimuli, produces serotonin and other chemicals that affect how the brain works, and even regulates immune response. This leads to the “gut-brain connection” (GBC), which is the back-and-forth relationship between gut health and brain health. Many functional bowel conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia, and their symptoms, such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, occur more frequently in people who experience anxiety, depression, and emotional shifts. Essentially, we’ve found that addressing mental health conditions and keeping stress under control can result in relief from certain digestive conditions; while, in turn, treating your digestive conditions and gut health can help improve your mental health.

New research, published in Molecular Psychiatry this month has found links between certain immune abnormalities in the brain and the gut in people with idiopathic autism. Another study found the impacts of gut microbiome diversity and intestinal flora on your food cravings, and another found connections between certain microbial composition and whether or not you’re a “morning person” or “night owl.” Certainly, we are at the forefront of understanding the numerous impacts of the gut-brain connection.

How can you begin to address your gut health?

We’ve written a lot about this! Beyond seeking diagnosis and treatment for specific medical conditions, you can improve the diversity of your gut microbiome through eating specific foods, taking probiotics, exercising, getting more sleep, and finding ways to manage stress. If you’re interested in learning more about the “#guthealth” trend that has taken the internet by storm, read our blog here. If you want to read more about diet, and in particular the importance of fiber, read our blog here

The experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you if you are concerned about your gut health or have other gastroenterological issues. For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our Kentucky or Southern Indiana offices, contact one of our practice locations near you.  

Coronavirus Updates

May 23, 2022

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 111th weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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May 16, 2022

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 110th weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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May 10, 2022

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 109th weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 30, 2022

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 108th weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 16, 2022

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 107th weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 9, 2022

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 106th weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 2, 2022

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 105th weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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March 26, 2022

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 104th weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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March 19, 2022

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 103rd weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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March 12, 2022

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 102nd weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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March 5, 2022

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 101st weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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February 27, 2022

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 one-hundredth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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February 20, 2022

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

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February 13, 2022

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

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February 6, 2022

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

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January 30, 2022

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

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January 20, 2022

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

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January 13, 2022

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

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January 6, 2022

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

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Dec 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 ninety-second weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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Dec 23, 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 ninety-first weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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Dec 16, 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 ninetieth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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Dec 9, 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 eighty-ninth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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Dec 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. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

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

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

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November 18, 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 eighty-sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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

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November 4, 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 eighty-fourth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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October 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. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

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

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October 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. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

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

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October 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. You can read more about our response to COVID-19 on our website.

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

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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

#GutHealth: Discerning Trend From Reality

“Gut health” seems to be a social media buzzword these days, with TikTok and Instagram influencers pushing products, juices, and bizarre diets to “heal” the gut, i.e., reduce bloating, improve digestion, and act as a sort of “cure all” for many common gastrointestinal symptoms and conditions, such as IBS and IBD. Aloe vera juice, bone broth, apple cider vinegar, probiotic-enriched muffin mixes–With so many emerging and unverified natural and unnatural remedies floating around the internet, it can be overwhelming to discern fact from fiction. 

At the same time, there’s so much new and exciting research around the role of the gut microbiome in overall physical and mental health. Research has found that boosting the diversity of gut microbiota (the vast array of “good” bacteria in your digestive system) can have positive effects on the immune system, improve mental health conditions like depression, improve sleep and heart health, and even reduce the rate of certain types of cancer

That being said, these recent, ungrounded social media trends are nothing but dangerous. 

In a recent New York Times article, University of London senior lecturer Stephanie Alice Baker defined these fads as the latest manifestation of the idea of “self-optimization,” an insidious mechanism to promote diet culture and “ideal” body types through unlikely sources. By labeling weight loss as “gut healing,” influencers are able to promote extreme, unhealthy diets. What’s more, these influencers often have no medical authority and may only be promoting a product because they’re being paid to do so. 

The truth of the matter is: there’s no quick fix, even if it seems to work for someone on #guttok. Many people suffer from gastrointestinal conditions that are best treated by consulting a medical professional. However, there are some research-driven dietary changes you can make to heal your gut over time. Let’s take a look at 6 gastroenterologist-backed methods for diversifying and improving the gut microbiome.

6 Things You Can Do For Your Gut Health

Eat fermented foods.

A clinical trial conducted by researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine found that a diet high in fermented foods, such as kimchi, kefir, and cottage cheese, continually increased microbiota diversity and decreased inflammatory markers over a period of 17 weeks. Fermented foods are rich in good bacteria; read our blog about other types of fermented food and fermentation here

Eat more fiber.

The same Stanford trial also examined the role of fiber in diet and found that it increased microbiome function, especially coupled with the consumption of fermented foods. Consuming soluble and insoluble fiber also promotes regularity and digestive function. Learn more about high-fiber foods and the role of fiber on our blog here

Reduce consumption of processed foods.

Research has found that regular consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods (like sugary soda, chips, artificial cheese, fried chicken, fast food) reduces gut diversity while increasing symptoms of gut disorders like IBS, the risk of depression, inflammation, and mortality. Unfortunately, many readily-accessible foods with a long-shelf life are highly-processed, even ones that appear “healthy,” so taking time to research nutritional information is key.

Reduce consumption of spicy foods. 

Spicy food isn’t “dangerous,” but consuming it often can irritate the stomach and increase symptoms of certain gut disorders, like IBS, IBD, and acid reflux. 

Don’t smoke.

Smoking and the toxic chemicals in cigarette smokes harms every part of the digestive system; from increasing the risk of heartburn and peptic ulcers to harming intestinal microflora, increasing inflammation, and increasing oxidative stress. 

Take probiotics.

Probiotic supplements and probiotic-rich foods contain life bacteria that contribute to improving gut microbiome diversity. Taking probiotics may be beneficial to your health, but it’s recommended that you consult a doctor first.  

The experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you if you are concerned about your gut health or have other gastroenterological issues. For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our Kentucky or Southern Indiana offices, contact one of our practice locations near you.  

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month: Information and Resources

April is annually designated as #IBSAwarenessMonth, a monthlong effort to focus attention on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and the millions of people it affects all over the world. Around 15% of the population suffers from IBS, but many go undiagnosed, dealing with painful, frustrating, and often stigmatized symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about the condition as well as some valuable resources.

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) describes a collection of chronic symptoms occurring in the large intestine (colon). It is characterized by bloating, abdominal cramping, and a change in bowel habits. Constipation and/or diarrhea are a part of IBS. No one knows what causes the condition, although it’s more common in women than men.

Symptoms of IBS

  • Uncomfortable bloating or distention 
  • Pain or cramping in the abdominal area
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea or vomiting

Managing Symptoms of IBS

There’s no “cure” for IBS. Treating the condition requires symptom management: making certain lifestyle and dietary changes based on your specific needs. Here are some ways that IBS can be controlled:

  • Limiting foods that trigger IBS symptoms. These may include alcohol, chocolate, carbonated beverages, certain fruits and vegetables, or milk. 
  • Stress management. IBS can worsen during periods of high-stress or anxiety. In fact, during the pandemic, many report that their symptoms of IBS have considerably worsened. Planning ahead, making lists, meditating, taking time to relax and avoiding stressful situations can prevent aggravation of symptoms.
  • Eat more fiber. Getting plenty of fiber in your diet can promote regularity and limit symptoms of IBS. 
  • Certain medications, such as anti-diarrheal medications and anticholinergic medications. 

Life With IBS: Resources and Information

IBS affects many people’s quality of life in subtle but debilitating ways. It can affect your work, travel, relationships, and how you live out each day. In fact, on average, individuals with IBS restrict their activities 73 days out of the year. 

If you or a loved one is living with IBS, there are a variety of resources and methodologies available to help you handle daily symptoms that you may have not encountered before. 

One such method is known as “belly breathing.” By utilizing the abdomen to expand and contract breath rather than the chest, you can limit symptoms of IBS and other gastroenterological conditions. Belly breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which tells the brain to move back to “rest” mode rather than “fight or flight.” It also improves stomach accommodation and pressure. 

If you frequently travel or commute to work, it can be helpful to create an IBS “survival kit”  to be of need in unfamiliar settings. This can include a change of clothes, extra bath tissue, medication, something that calms you, and anything else that may be of use.

If you are close with or live with someone with IBS, providing them a supportive and understanding relationship can be hugely beneficial. Read this helpful blog about relationships and IBS by the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) to learn more.

Being communicative with your physician is also an important part of managing symptoms of IBS. On average, people wait with their symptoms for over 6 years before seeking help. If you think you may be experiencing IBS, seek medical advice. The IFFGD has compiled a list of “words to know” so you can better-communicate your symptoms. 

Why Does IBS Awareness Month Matter?

By participating in #IBSAwarenessMonth, you can help spread awareness, reduce stigma, and promote greater investment in IBS research. 

Visit the IFFGD’s #IBSAwarenessMonth homebase for more pertinent information and media resources toolkits. Read personal stories of people who experience IBS here. Visit the American College of Gastroenterology’s helpful resource page here.

The experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you if you are concerned about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and/or other gastroenterological medical conditions. For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our Kentucky or Southern Indiana offices, contact one of our practice locations near you.  

 

7 Common Signs of a Duodenal Ulcer

Duodenal ulcers are a type of sore that develop in your small intestine in an area called the duodenum. This area is located at the top portion of your small intestine just past the stomach. 

This type of ulcer can be caused by several different things. Some people get duodenal ulcers from infections with Helicobacter pylori often referred to as H. pylori, a bacterium often detected in the stomach. 

Ulcers can also be caused by anti-inflammatory medications which can impact the mucous barrier in the duodenum enabling acids to cause ulcers. There are also certain medical conditions that can cause duodenal ulcers. For example, duodenal ulcers can be caused by the increase in stomach acid associated with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. 

Additionally certain lifestyle factors can increase a person’s risk of developing duodenal ulcers including heavy drinking, smoking and heavy stress.

Research suggests that upwards of one out of 10 people in the U.S. experience a duodenal ulcer at some point in time. While ulcers were originally more common in men, the rates of ulcers in women have increased in recent years.

Though duodenal ulcers may be confused with other medical conditions, there are some common signs and symptoms. Follow along for 7 common signs of a duodenal ulcer.

7 Signs of a Duodenal Ulcer

1. Stomach pain which sometimes becomes more severe and then gets better depending on what you are eating and drinking.

2. Bloating and an overall feeling of fullness especially after you eat 

3. Increased gas and a need to burp

4. Nausea and even feeling like you might need to vomit

5. Weight loss which can happen if the ulcer causes any type of blockage in your digestive track which makes it difficult for food to travel through your stomach.

6. Weight gain through comfort eating in order to find pain relief through food that neutralizes the acid build up. 

7. Indigestion, sometimes called dyspepsia, which is characterized by discomfort and a burning feeling in your upper abdomen area.

8. Extremely serious ulcer cases can cause more severe symptoms and complications that require immediate medical attention including blood in your stool. 

If you think that you might be suffering from a duodenal ulcer, you should seek out experienced medical attention. When left untreated, duodenal ulcers can lead to more serious complications including bleeding and even perforations in your intestine. There are certain tests that your gastroenterologist may perform for diagnostic purposes. An endoscopy is often used to diagnose a duodenal ulcer. Through this test your physician is uses a flexible telescope which provides visibility in the duodenum so that ulcers can be detected. Your doctor may also test you to see if you have H. pylori.

The experienced team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here for you if you are concerned about duodenal ulcers and other gastroenterological medical conditions. For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our Kentucky or Southern Indiana offices, contact one of our practice locations near you.  

The Colonoscopy: A Historical Timeline

As we approach the end of this year’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, let’s take a closer look at something near and dear to our hearts: the colonoscopy. 

As the only screening test that detects and prevents cancer, the best test for finding precancerous polyps, and the only test recommended for people with risk factors such as personal history of polyps or cancer, the colonoscopy is truly a life-saving resource. Over 15 million colonoscopies are performed across the United States each year, reducing the widespread risk of colorectal cancer death by over 60%.

However, despite the colonoscopy’s widespread use and unequivocal standard of effectiveness, it is actually a fairly new methodology, one that took decades to be widely-known and well-established. While variations of the colonoscopy were first conceptualized throughout the 1960s, it wasn’t until the last few decades that the standards of quality which govern the colonoscopy as we know it came to be.

Follow along for a deep-dive into our favorite colorectal cancer screening test. 

1960s-70s: The Early Years

Up until the mid-1960s, the closest thing to a colonoscopy was an endoscopic procedure using a rigid sigmoidoscope. This device had very limited movement, reach, and was unable to actually remove polyps. 

In 1969, colleagues Dr. William Wolff and Dr. Hiromi Shinya of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City invented the fiberoptic colonoscope, the first device to allow doctors to actually examine the entire length of the colon, thanks to its flexible, dynamic design.

Dr. Shinya also invented the polypectomy snare in 1969, a device which was able to physically remove colorectal polyps using a wire and electro-cauterizing mechanism. 

By 1973, the pair had performed over 5,000 colonoscopies, demonstrating the validity and safety of the procedure. 

1980s-90s: Increasing Awareness

In 1983, the Welch Allyn Corporation invented the first video endoscope, allowing doctors to see the procedure on-screen. Before, they were only able to observe the colon through a small eyepiece. 

Although the colonoscopy continued to develop, there was still a lack of general public accessibility and awareness towards the procedure. Many people opted for tests such as fecal occult blood testing and sigmoidoscopy. It wasn’t until 1985, when President Ronald Reagan underwent a life-saving colonoscopy, that the procedure began to garner national attention. 

In the mid-90s, the first screening recommendations were established in the United States. Adults over the age of 50 were suggested to receive regular colonoscopies. However, in a 1999 survey conducted by the CDC, only 40.3% of American adults over the age of 50 reported ever having a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.  

2000-Now: New Developments

In 2000, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) published the first colonoscopy guidelines. This seminal work allowed the quality of a colonoscopy to be measured with a numeric value, the Adenoma Detection Rate (ADR) as well as evaluate measures such as the quality of bowel preparation, patient assessments, rate of complications, cecal intubation rate, and withdrawal time. Doctors were finally able to be pragmatically evaluated for their ability to perform a colonoscopy. 

The early 21st century saw a significant increase in colonoscopies. Self-reported colonoscopies across the United States increased from 20% in 2000 to 47% in 2008. This can be contributed to many factors: a variety of educational campaigns and visibility measures pushed by doctors, government, and public organizations; Medicare coverage of colonoscopy, beginning in 2001; even celebrity stunts such as the Today Show’s Katie Couric’s publicized colonoscopy.

From 2000 to 2015, colon cancer rates rose considerably across increasingly younger populations. For adults aged 40-44, colorectal cancer incidence increased by 28%, for those aged 45-49, colorectal cancer increased by 15%, and while colonoscopy rates increased 17% in those aged 50–54. 

Rising colorectal cancer rates have led to efforts such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s 2020 recommendation that all adults aged 45-75 should be regularly screened. This was an update from the 2016 guidelines that suggested adults without risk factors should begin screening at the age of 50.

What is the future of the colonoscopy?

The colonoscope of the present remains largely unchanged from that first created by Dr. Wolff and Shinya in 1969. While it has developed in mechanical quality, such as flexibility and control, and now features a light source, suction device, lens cleaning, and a camera, it doesn’t really vary in its fundamental use: to observe and remove colorectal polyps, acting as both a diagnostic and therapeutic instrument. Why is this the case? Likely because it is highly effective at what it does! 

With this in mind, the most important development concerning colonoscopies, arguably, is in the public sphere. While the mechanisms of the procedure itself will undoubtedly continue to evolve and innovate, it’s important to consider the future of public access and opinion towards the colonoscopy.

There is still a surprising amount of misconception surrounding the colonoscopy. A 2020 survey of several European countries found that only 45% of people understood that it can prevent colon cancer. In the United States (pre-pandemic), around 68.8% of adults were up-to-date with their colonoscopy. Many people remain uninformed, fearful, and resistant to receiving the  life-saving screening test. Other people are limited by financial means or geographic accessibility to the procedure. 

By working to increase public awareness around the value of the colonoscopy, we can continue to prevent and reduce colorectal cancer deaths around the world. By educating your friends and loved ones about the importance of colonoscopy, partaking in events such as #DressInBlueDay and National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, getting involved with organizations like the Colon Cancer Coalition, and getting screened, yourself, you can help promote widespread change. 

See new infographics created by the Digestive Health Physicians Association below. To read stories about people’s experiences with colonoscopies and colorectal cancer, click here. To see our favorite online resources for promoting awareness, click here. To learn more about what exactly colorectal cancer is, click here.

The colonoscopy a historical timelineColorectal screening tests

An Overview of Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, an important time to spread awareness and learn more about the risks associated with colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. In the United States this year, an estimated 151,030 adults will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and ​​an estimated 52,580 will die from the disease. 

Despite its significant rate of incidence, colorectal cancer is highly preventable through the use of screening tests. Gastroenterology Health Partners, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society and Digestive Health Partners Association, recommends that those with an average risk start screenings at age 45. 

Of the colorectal cancer screening tests that we offer, colonoscopy remains the gold-standard of effectiveness and is strongly suggested for anyone eligible. Observational studies have suggested that colonoscopy can reduce colorectal cancer occurrence by 40% and mortality rates by 60%. 

If you’re considering scheduling a screening test, talk to an experienced gastroenterologist. They can help you make the right decision for your needs. 

Keep reading to learn about six commonly-offered colorectal cancer screening tests.

6 Common Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests

1. Colonoscopy

As mentioned above, the colonoscopy is the best diagnostic tool available. This out-patient procedure involves the use of a thin, flexible tube with a camera to exam the lining of the colon (large intestine) for abnormalities such as polyps. Some polyps can be removed with a scope during the procedure. Your doctor may also take tissue samples for analysis as well.

While the colonoscopy does require prep and recovery time, it is a fast, virtually risk-free procedure. Afterwards, your doctor will discuss your results with you and recommend whether you should be screened in 1, 5, or 10 years. To learn more about the colonoscopy, how it works, how to prepare, and more, read here

2. Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)

Often considered the second choice after a colonoscopy, the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) offers a non-invasive method for identifying colorectal cancer. The test, often performed at home, tests for hidden (occult) blood in the stool. This unnoticeable blood is often an early-sign of colorectal cancer. 

If you test positive for hidden blood during a FIT test, your doctor will want to perform another test, most likely a colonoscopy. FIT, unlike colonoscopy, is unable to actually identify or remove polyps and abnormal tissue. Therefore, the FIT is not really a viable “preventative” test and has a much lower accuracy rate. 

3. CT Colonography

The CT Colonography is also known as a “virtual colonoscopy.” This test uses a CT scan (a form of x-ray technology) to exam the colon for polyps. A small scope is inserted slightly into the colon to inflate it with air. Then, pictures are taken of the entire colon. The CT Colonography is highly effective, and, unlike a colonoscopy, it doesn’t require sedation. However, unlike a colonoscopy, this exam doesn’t actually remove precancerous polyps, it only can identify them.

4. Cologuard

Cologuard is another non-invasive, at-home colon screening test. Much like the FIT test, it looks at stool DNA samples. While Cologuard is generally more effective than FIT, it still doesn’t compare to the effectiveness of the colonoscopy–while colonoscopy is known to identify over 70% of precancerous polyps, Cologuard only identifies around 42%.

5. Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a comparable procedure to the colonoscopy. It is an exam of the lower part of the colon using a small, flexible, lighted tube. The tube, called a flexible sigmoidoscope, has a camera which allows the doctor to view the inside of the rectum and the sigmoid colon—about the last two feet of the large intestine. Unlike a colonoscopy, this procedure does not allow the doctor to see the entire colon; any cancers or polyps far in the colon cannot be detected. 

6. Capsule Endoscopy

A capsule endoscopy is a procedure that examines the lining of the middle part of the small intestine, the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. This procedure is necessary because a standard endoscope or colonoscope cannot reach this part of the bowel. Capsule endoscopy is often used to search for causes of bleeding as well as detect polyps, tumors, ulcers, and IBD.

During this procedure, the patient will swallow a tiny pill containing a video camera, light source, and battery. The camera will take 2-3 pictures per second for up to 12 hours, traveling through the GI tract. The photos are saved automatically to a recording device and strung into a video. 

While capsule endoscopy is effective for detecting and documenting significant lesions attributed to conditions such as IBD, tumors, and ulcers, it is significantly less effective as a colon screening test compared to colonoscopy. 

 When it comes to colon cancer screenings, the experienced medical team at Gastroenterology Health Partners is here to serve you. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Southern Indiana or Kentucky, contact a Gastroenterology Health Partners location near you.