Coronavirus Updates

February 25, 2021

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

————————————————————————————————-

February 18, 2021

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

————————————————————————————————-

February 11, 2021

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

————————————————————————————————-

February 4, 2021

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

————————————————————————————————-

January 28, 2021

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

————————————————————————————————-

January 21, 2021

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

————————————————————————————————-

January 14, 2021

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

————————————————————————————————-

January 7, 2021

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

————————————————————————————————-

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.

————————————————————————————————-

December 17, 2020

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

————————————————————————————————-

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

————————————————————————————————-

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

————————————————————————————————-

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

————————————————————————————————-

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

————————————————————————————————-

November 12, 2020

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

————————————————————————————————-

November 5, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

October 15, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

October 1, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

September 24, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

September 17, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

September 10, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

September 3rd, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

August 27, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

August 20, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

June 11, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

June 4, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

May 7, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

April 30, 2020

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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

Gastroparesis: A Summary of the Condition

Gastroparesis is a condition in which the stomach is unable to empty normally. Read along for an overview of the disease. 

Causes and Risk Factors

Gastroparesis is usually caused by a nerve injury of some sort. When the vagus nerve, the nerve controlling stomach muscles, becomes damaged it can stop working properly. When the nerve functions properly, it contracts the muscles in the stomach to help food move through your digestive tract. If the nerve is damaged, food can sit in your stomach longer than normal. 

The root cause of this nerve damage can vary. Some viral infections can be at the root of the issue. In other cases, it may be a side effect of surgery on the stomach or nerve. Narcotic pain medications can also slow the rate the stomach empties. 

There are a few risk factors that increase your chance of developing gastroparesis. People with type 1 or 2 diabetes are at a heightened risk. Additionally, people with nervous system diseases like Parkinson’s or MS are at an increased risk. 

Symptoms of Gastroparesis

This condition is characterized by a number of potential symptoms, which can vary by person. Vomiting, nausea, heartburn, and GERD are symptoms many people with the condition experience. Abdominal pain and bloating are also symptoms in some cases. You may feel full after eating very little and lose weight with the condition as well. You may also become malnourished and dehydrated due to the condition.

Diagnosis

Doctors can diagnose gastroparesis with a number of tests. They may want to see how quickly your stomach empties. To do this, they can use a technique called scintigraphy in which they have you eat a light meal with a small amount of radioactive material in it. They place a scanner on your abdomen that tracks the material and the rate that food is passing through your stomach.Another test they can utilize is an upper endoscopy. Here, they use a long tube with a camera on the end to visualize your upper GI system. This can also help diagnose other conditions with similar symptoms. 

Treatment

Gastroparesis is often a chronic condition. As such, your doctor will focus on treating symptoms and identifying the underlying cause. If you are diabetic, you should focus on controlling your blood sugar levels, as this can reduce gastroparesis issues. Dietary changes are crucial as well. You should work with a dietitian to identify foods and habits that lend themselves to easy digestion. You can also eat smaller, more frequent meals and chew food thoroughly. In some cases, medication can also help stimulate the stomach muscles and control nausea. Follow your doctor’s advice for any prescriptions. 

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

What are Gallstones?

Gallstones are hard deposits that can form in your gallbladder. Here’s what you need to know about the condition. 

Causes

Gallstones are mostly made up of cholesterol (around 80%) and bilirubin and calcium salts (around 20%). Doctors believe that cholesterol may be tied to the root cause of gallstones. The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid that helps dissolve fats. If your liver produces more cholesterol than your bile can handle, hardened crystals can form and eventually turn into hard deposits (gallstones). The previously mentioned chemical bilirubin may cause gallstones as well. Your body produces bilirubin to break down red blood cells. If your liver produces too much bilirubin (due to conditions like blood disorders and liver cirrhosis), excess bilirubin can lead to gallstones. One last potential cause of is a slow-draining gallbladder. If bile does not exit your gallbladder correctly, it can become concentrated.

Risk Factors

There are a few significant risk factors for gallstones. Some of these are lifestyle factors. These lifestyle risk factors include being obese or overweight, rapidly losing weight in a short timeframe, and eating a high fat or cholesterol diet with low fiber intake. Additionally, people over 60, women, Native American and Mexican people, and people with a family history of gallstones are at a higher risk. Last, there are some relevant medical risk factors. These include being pregnant, having cirrhosis, taking cholesterol-lowering medication, and taking medication with high estrogen content. 

Symptoms of Gallstones

Gallstones commonly cause several symptoms. If a gallstone becomes stuck in a duct and blocks it, this can cause symptoms. One of the first may be a sudden onset of intensifying pain in your upper right abdomen. This pain could also occur in the center of your abdomen. You may experience back pain between your shoulder blades, pain in your right shoulder, and nausea and vomiting as well. These symptoms can last minutes or hours. Serious complications can occur, and are indicated by symptoms like yellowing skin and eye whites, a high fever, and tea-colored urine. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience these symptoms. 

In some cases, you may not have pain at all. In fact, some experts estimate around 80% of people with this condition have no symptoms. 

Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose gallstones in a few ways depending on your situation. If you see them due to any of the above symptoms, they may start with a physical exam to check for signs of jaundice. There are a few diagnostic tests they can perform as well. Often, they will order an ultrasound to visualize your abdominal area and identify signs of gallstones. They may also perform an endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) if they think they could have missed any smaller gallstones with an ultrasound. Another procedure they may perform is an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP), which can also help identify gallstones. They can also order a blood test to see if your bilirubin levels are abnormal. 

In many cases, your doctor may identify gallstones incidentally while performing one of the above procedures for another purpose . This is particularly true if you have asymptomatic ones. As mentioned before, most people with do not have symptoms, so this is a fairly common way they may diagnose your gallstones. 

Treatment

Often times, you may not need any specific treatment for gallstones (especially if they cause no symptoms). You may be able to pass them without any pain. If you are experiencing any of the more serious symptoms discussed previously, you may need surgery. Doctors can perform a procedure called a cholecystectomy, in which they remove your gallbladder. This prevents gallstone recurrence. Your gallbladder is not essential, so removing it does not cause major issues. If surgery would be risky for you, your doctor may prescribe medication to dissolve your gallstones. In this case, you will likely have to continue medication use for a long period of time.

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

Coronavirus Vaccines: Best Practices for People with IBD

People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, may have questions about how they should approach coronavirus vaccines. The International Organization for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IOIBD) recently highlighted an article titled ‘SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases: recommendations from an international consensus meeting.’ In this article, the organization highlights the recommendations related to coronavirus vaccines IOIBD has developed for people with IBD. Here are a few highlights:

1. People with IBD should get a coronavirus vaccine

Overall, there was broad and overwhelming agreement among IOIBD members that coronavirus vaccines are safe and necessary for people with IBD. This consensus was reached through multiple questions that explored IOIBD member opinions on the efficacy and safety of the vaccines for IBD patients.

2. People with IBD should get a coronavirus vaccine as soon as it is possible

Not only does the IOIBD recommend vaccines for people with IBD, they recommend people with IBD receive a vaccination as soon as they are eligible.

3. Coronavirus vaccines, including messenger RNA vaccines, replication-incompetent vector vaccines, inactivated vaccines and recombinant vaccines, are safe for people with IBD

IOIBD members considered the main types of vaccines that may be available for people with IBD. They did this to ensure safety across all vaccines. After review, they broadly agreed that all vaccine types are safe.

4. Coronavirus vaccination shouldn’t be delayed if a person with IBD is receiving immune-modifying therapies

Some people with IBD may be undergoing immune-modifying therapy to suppress an inflammatory response. Still, coronavirus vaccines are safe for them.

5. People with IBD who receive a coronavirus vaccine should be informed that the vaccine’s efficacy can decrease if they are receiving systemic corticosteroids

This is also an important insight for people with IBD. They should receive a coronavirus vaccine when possible. However, if they are receiving corticosteroids to calm a flare-up, the vaccine may be less effective.

Our experienced team at Gastro Health Partners continues to safely provide care for our patients during the coronavirus pandemic. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Visit us online at https://www.gastrohealthpartners.com/ to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

Anal Fistulas: A Brief Overview

Anal fistulas are tube-like passages that connect an infected anal gland to the outside of the skin near the anus. They do not usually heal on their own, and often require surgery. Here’s what you need to know about the condition.

Causes

Typically, anal fistulas originate from an anal abcess. Anal abcesses are collections of pus. These can form when anal glands become infected. Then, a tunnel can form from the abscess to an opening on the skin. This tunnel is an anal fistula. Other less common causes include Crohn’s disease, cancer, trauma, and diverticulitis.

Symptoms of Anal Fistulas

Anal fistulas typically cause a few symptoms. These include pain and swelling around the anus and painful bowel movements. There is often drainage from an opening around the anus, and pain may decrease after drainage. The drainage may be pus and be bloody or foul-smelling. You may also experience fatigue, fever, and chills. Any of these symptoms are good cause to see a doctor.

Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose anal fistulas by first performing a physical exam to identify an opening or boil on the skin near the anus. If there is no visible opening, they may need to perform an anoscopy, MRI, or ultrasound to visualize the fistula tract and determine the severity and size of the fistula.

Treatment

If you have an anal fistula, you will need surgery. Anorectal surgeons will evaluate your fistula to determine how the fistula is affecting your anal sphincter muscle and then minimize the surgery’s effect on anal function. A procedure called a fistulotomy allows doctors to open the fistula tunnel and allow it to heal. Doctors usually prefer this approach if a small amount of the anal sphincter muscle is involved with the fistula. If a significant amount of the muscle is involved, another viable approach is placing a band called a seton through the fistula to promote drainage. The seton stays in place for at least 6 weeks. There is typically a follow-up procedure in this case to get rid of the fistula. Another common surgical technique is the advancement flap procedure. This, like the seton approach, is also useful if a large amount of the sphincter muscle is involved. Here, surgeons cut or scrape out the fistula and then cover the hole where it enters the bowel with a flap of skin from the rectum.

Prognosis and Disease Management After Surgery

Unfortunately, some fistulas may require several surgeries to eliminate them. Following surgeries, you may need to take stool softeners and soak the affected area in a warm bath. Plus, to help with pain, your doctor may inject a local anaesthetic and prescribe pain pills for a short time. The good news is that when properly treated, fistulas rarely come back.

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating anal fistulas. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

Celiac Disease: What You Need to Know

Celiac disease is an immune disorder that gluten triggers. For people with the disease, it causes an immune response that damages the small intestine when eating gluten, which is found in foods like wheat, barley, and rye. Here’s an overview of celiac disease.

Causes and Risk Factors

This disease causes an immune response when you consume gluten. This response attacks the lining of the small intestine and leads to inflammation. This damages cilli, hair-like structures that line the small intestine. Cilli are key in absorbing nutrients from food; as such, celiac disease can cause problems with nutrient absorption and lead to malnourishment.

Celiac disease often runs in families. The causes of the disease are thought to be a combination of genes and consuming gluten. Sometimes celiac can be activated after a viral infection, childbirth, pregnancy, surgery, or severe stress. There are a few notable risk factors for celiac disease. These include a family history of the disease, type 1 diabetes, down’s syndrome, Addison’s disease, and autoimmune thyroid disease.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Symptoms for this disease are wide-ranging and vary significantly person to person. As mentioned before, celiac damages your body’s ability to absorb nutrients in food. Many of the symptoms you may experience are related to this lack of nutrition. Digestive issues like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, pale stool, and weight loss are common. A tingling feeling in the legs is possible due to low calcium and nerve damage. People with celiac can also have musculoskeletal issues like bone and joint pain, cramps, and dental enamel defects. Anemia and hepatitis can occur too. Children with the disease can experience growth issues and a failure to thrive.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctors can diagnose celiac disease with blood testing. Serology blood testing examines your blood for antibodies that might indicate an immune response to gluten. Additionally, they can use genetic testing for certain antigens to potentially rule out the disease. In some cases, they may test for iron levels, as anemia (low iron) can happen with celiac. In some cases, they may want to biopsy some tissue from your small intestine to search for signs of damage. They can do this with an endoscopy, where they pass an endoscope through your mouth to your small intestine and take a tissue sample.

Treating celiac involves managing symptoms and avoiding trigger foods. You can’t eat foods with gluten, which include wheat, malt, and rye. Removing gluten from your diet will help reduce inflammation over time. You may also need to take some vitamin supplements. Your doctor may recommend you work with a dietician to establish a healthy diet without gluten. You may also need regular follow-up visits so your doctor can check in on your condition over time.

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience diagnosing and treating Celiac disease. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

 

An Overview of Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a condition where pockets formed in the colon wall (called diverticula) become inflamed. Here’s what you need to know about the condition.

Causes and Risk Factors

Diverticula can form when weak areas of the colon give due to pressure, creating pockets in the colon wall. This pressure can be influenced by many things, including diet. If you do not eat enough fiber, waste can build up in your colon and increase pressure on its walls. If these diverticula tear, they can become infected and inflamed.

There are a few notable risk factors for diverticulitis. As previously mentioned, you are at risk if you do not eat enough fiber in your diet. Not eating enough fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and beans can all contribute to low fiber intake. If you have a diet high in fats and red meat your risk increases as well. Exercise is a factor as well- too little regular exercise can increase risk for diverticulitis. NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin can heighten your risk too. Also, people over 40, men, and people who are obese have a higher chance of developing the condition. Overall, this is a very common condition, particularly for people in Western countries as they age.

Symptoms of Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is characterized by a few symptoms. Abdominal pain in the lower left part of the abdomen is a common symptom. This pain can persist for several days, and may be mild and slowly building or can develop suddenly. Your abdomen may be tender as a result of the pain. Other potential symptoms include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and occasionally diarrhea.

Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of this condition, and is associated with many other potential issues. As such, doctors typically perform a number of diagnostic steps to determine the underlying issue. They may ask you about your diet, bowel movements, and symptoms. They may also perform a physical exam to investigate abdominal pain and tenderness. Your doctor might want to run blood and urine tests to check for signs of infection. In some cases, they may want to do a stool test as well. They can also order a CT scan to visualize any inflamed or infected diverticula and illuminate the severity of the diverticulitis.

Treating mild diverticulitis usually involves taking prescribed oral antibiotics. You will also need to rest and switch to a liquid diet while your colon heals. In more severe cases, people with complicated diverticulitis are hospitalized and given intravenous antibiotics. Surgery may be warranted if an abscess (a pocket of infection) forms or if there is a colon puncture or fistula. In surgery, doctors remove diseased parts of the colon and reconnect healthy parts of the organ. If infection is widespread, doctors can perform a colostomy to connect the colon to a hole in the abdomen. Doctors attach a bag to the opening where waste can pass.

You can prevent diverticulitis by eating a fiber-rich diet and exercising regularly. Seek out whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Stay in touch with your doctor if you do have a case of diverticulitis, as they may recommend other steps to prevent recurrence.

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

Colorectal Polyps: What You Need to Know

Colorectal polyps are excess tissue that can form in the lining of the colon or rectum. While most are harmless, some can develop into cancer. Here’s what you need to know about polyps.

Causes, Risk Factors, and Symptoms of Colorectal Polyps

Polyps occur when certain mutations in genes cause uncontrolled cell growth. This continued growth can turn into groups of tissue- polyps- in your large intestine. Some of the risk factors for polyps include family history, being 50 or older, obesity, low exercise levels, and tobacco or alcohol use.

In many cases, polyps may not cause any symptoms at all. You may find you have a polyp only after an examination like a colonoscopy. However, in some cases polyps do cause symptoms. These include rectal bleeding, pain, changes in bowel habits, and a change in stool color (red streaks or black stool).

Neoplastic Polyps

One of the two main kinds of polyps is neoplastic. Neoplastic polyps have the potential to become cancerous. Within this classification, there are a few additional types of polyps. Adenomas are the most common type of polyp, making up around 70% of polyps. When found, it’s tested for cancer. It can take many years for these kinds of polyps to become cancerous, so with proper screenings they can be taken care of before they become a major problem. Serrated polyps are the second main type of neoplastic polyps. These can become cancerous depending on their location and size. Larger polyps have a higher risk of becoming cancerous.

Non-neoplastic Polyps

In comparison, non-neoplastic polyps usually do not turn cancerous. One common kind, hyperplastic polyps, are small and very rarely become cancerous. Another type, inflammatory polyps, are common in people with inflammatory bowel disease. These do not grow like other polyps- they develop in response to chronic inflammation. They tend to be benign. One final type is hamartomatous polyps. These may occur as part of a genetic syndrome, and tend to be benign as well.

Reducing Risk and Preventing Colorectal Cancer

In general, there are several lifestyle and screening measures you should take to reduce the risk of polyps and colorectal cancer. Eating fruits and vegetables and reducing fat intake are key dietary steps that can help you remain healthy. In addition, you should limit alcohol and tobacco consumption. Plus, staying active is a must.

You should also consider your risk for colorectal cancer or polyps based on family history. In some cases, you may want to pursue genetic counseling if your family has a history of colon polyps. Additionally, if you have a hereditary disorder that causes polyps, you may need earlier and more regular screenings.

Screenings themselves are a key aspect of preventing colorectal cancer. The colonoscopy remains the gold standard for screenings. It allows doctors to both detect and remove polyps to prevent colorectal cancer. In fact, annual colonoscopies reduce cancer incidence by around 89%. Screenings are now recommended earlier- at GHP we endorse annual colonoscopies for all patients ages 45-75. Visit our website to learn more.

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience screening for and treating colorectal cancer. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

 

GHP Doctors Receive Coronavirus Vaccinations

As patient-facing healthcare providers, our physicians at Gastroenterology Health Partners have been working hard to safely treat patients during the coronavirus pandemic. From requiring masks and social distancing to limiting guests and thoroughly sanitizing treatment and waiting rooms, everyone at GHP has been a part of this effort.

We have been able to add another tool to our public health toolkit- COVID-19 vaccinations. The vaccine has been made available to our entire team so that our patients and personnel are kept safe with yet an additional layer of protection.  By close of business on Friday January 8, 2021, all of our physicians and clinicians (including our APCs) will have received vaccinations for COVID-19.

GHP’s Dr. Matthew McCollough receives his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

The vaccines that have been approved for use in the United States have all proven to be extremely effective in preventing COVID-19. Vaccines are a key part of ending this pandemic. With vaccines to bolster immune response and other measures like social distancing and mask-wearing, we have the ability to end the pandemic together.

When our physicians get vaccinated, not only do they protect themselves from COVID-19, they also protect their colleagues and the patients they serve. Gastroenterology Health Partners is proud that our doctors are prioritizing public health by getting their vaccinations and creating a safer environment for the crucial healthcare services they provide. We are fully positioned to provide our patients with the safest care possible in a pandemic.

Our experienced team at Gastro Health Partners continues to safely provide care for our patients during the coronavirus pandemic. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Visit us online at https://www.gastrohealthpartners.com/ to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

What is H. Pylori?

H. pylori is a bacteria that can infect the stomach and cause complications like stomach ulcers. Here’s an overview of how doctors identify and treat this infection.

Causes and Risk Factors

H. Pylori is very common- in the United States, around 30-40% of people are estimated to have an infection with the bacteria in their lifetime. Most It may spread through contaminated food and water, and through an infected person’s saliva or other bodily fluids. As such, risk factors include eating food that is not cooked properly or safely and drinking contaminated water. Living in crowded conditions also increases risk, as does living in a developing country where living conditions may be less sanitary and more crowded. Additionally, if you live with someone who has H. pylori, you have an increased risk.

Symptoms and Complications

Most people with H. pylori never have any symptoms. For people who do experience symptoms, they can include a burning or ache in the abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea, boating, weight loss, frequent burping, and nausea. There are some complications that can occur with H. pylori as well. The infection can damage the stomach’s protective lining and allow stomach acid to create an ulcer (an open sore). Additionally, the infection can cause gastritis (inflammation) on the stomach lining. H. pylori infection is also a risk factor for some kinds of stomach cancer.

Diagnosis

There are a few ways doctors can diagnose H. pylori. They can perform blood testing to see if you have an active or past infection. They can also perform breath testing; in this case, you swallow a pill containing carbon molecules and then breathe into a bag. Doctors check for carbon in your breath- if it’s present this means the bacteria is present. Another testing option is a stool test, in which doctors analyze a stool sample for abnormal bacteria or proteins that indicate an H. pylori infection. In some cases, your doctor may perform an upper endoscopy to visualize your stomach and take a tissue biopsy.

Treatment and Prevention

Most often, doctors treat H. pylori infection with multiple antibiotics. They may use two simultaneously to hedge against the bacteria becoming resistant to one. Your doctor may recommend other treatments depending on your case. This can include prescribing proton pump inhibitors, which block stomach acid production. They may also prescribe histamine blockers, which block histamine, the substance that triggers acid production. Often times, you may undergo follow-up testing a few weeks after treatment to determine if the bacteria has been eliminated.

You can take some steps to prevent H. pylori infection. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom and before eating. Only consume food that has been cooked in a clean and safe manner. Avoid unclean drinking water if possible. Doing these things can cut down on risk factors for H. pylori.

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience diagnosing and treating H. pylori. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.