COVID-19 scare is here

Posted March 17, 2020 at 2:13 pm


Schools close, student meals continue, sports halted, court postponed, restaurants told drive-thru or pickup only


The pandemic that has swept across the world during the past few weeks and months, known as the Coronavirus infection and more commonly referred to as the COVID-19 infection, may have not reached Albany and Clinton County yet in terms of having infected any citizens, but its affects have certainly reached us.

Just a few of the ways the pandemic situation has impacted life in Clinton County are featured here.

Clinton County News is here for you

A note to our readers, the Clinton County News will continue to be, through these trying times, your trusted source for local information, news and developments regarding life in our commuity, be it Coronavirus related or otherwise.

We will continue to publish our weekly newspaper in this printed format, and will be continually updating our readers through our facebook page and website at:

If you have announcements you would like to have published about your event, church or family gathering, you can continue to submit those via email: , or by bringing them to our office at 116 N. Washington Street in Albany, or by calling 606-387-5144 during regular business hours.

Schools closed

The first indication that the virus would have an affect on Clinton County came last week when it was announced by Clinton County School Superintendent Dr. Tim Parson that, as had been requested by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Clinton County Schools would cancel classes beginning this week.

Separate articles involving that decision appear this week in the Clinton County News, beginning on page one.

Sports halted

Shortly after the decision to close schools was made, Clinton County High School Athletic Director Brandon Pharis informed the Clinton County News that he had received a directive from Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Julian Tackett that all spring sports for high schools across Kentucky had been declared to be in a “dead period”.

The notice from Tackett, in part, stated: “Effective immediately, all sports and sport-activities, regardless of season, are declared to be in a dead period, congruent with the provisions of Bylaw 24. This prohibition extends through Sunday, April 12. Prior to April 11, and in consultation with the Governor, Public Health Officials and the Kentucky Department of Education, an evaluation will be made for the period going forward.”

The closing of schools in Clinton County and across Kentucky, as well as the cancellation of spring sports for high school athletes, were just two of the many ways the virus outbreak has caused Albany and Clinton County residents’ lives to be altered.

Church services altered

Church services across Clinton County were canceled at many local churches last Sunday and will continue to be canceled until further notice, while other churches elected to hold worship services as scheduled, but altered or canceled Sunday School services as well as special youth planned services.

Restaurants to serve as drive-thru, take out only

On Monday of this week, Governor Beshear also ordered that all restaurants in Kentucky serve customers as a take-out and drive-through service industry only.

According to Monday’s directive, reported to the Clinton County News by a press release issued from his office, “Gov. Beshear said he will direct restaurants and bars to close, although there will be exceptions for drive through and delivery. The Governor urged people to order take out when possible and support local businesses and their employees.

“We are to the point now where this is a step we have to take. I want to thank everyone that stepped up and did this voluntarily,” Beshear said. “We are asking so many people to make sacrifices. It is not lost on me that most of these are small businesses. We are going to do everything we can to be there for you. We realize the impact this will have and we will be there for you.”

In addition, many other events across Clinton County that had been planned before President Trump declared a national disaster last week, were canceled or altered.

Just a few of those changes included:

Clinton County Senior Citizen Center to close, meals can be delivered

On Friday, March 13, the Lake Cumberland Area Development District issued a press release noting that the agency would be temporarily closing its Senior Citizens Centers for meals and activities within the Center.

“Anyone that receives home delivered meals will continue to receive those in the same matter. Those that are transported to the center will begin receiving home delivered meals. Those that drive to the center, meals will be prepared and available with a time designated for pickup of the meals. Staff will be available to deliver the meals to your vehicle.”

District, Circuit Court schedules to be altered

On Friday, March 13, Clinton County Circuit Clerk Jake Staton issued the following notice regarding court related events in Clinton County:

“In an effort to be compliant with the order of the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court regarding COVID-19, Clinton County Courts will operate on a modified court schedule beginning March 16th through April 10th. Please contact Jake Staton, Clinton Circuit Court Clerk, at 606.387.8181 for your next scheduled court appearance.

Local store shelves empty of some items

Despite pleas from state and national officials for citizens to refrain from stocking up or “hoarding” of some supplies, local retail stores still showed signs of some customer panic in regards to certain supplies.

Over the weekend, the NEWS witnessed empty shelves or near empty shelves in several retail outlets.

Among the items that were in short supply or even completely absent on store shelves, include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, hand soap and bread, as well as many other non-perishable food supplies.

Clinton County Public Library closed

Clinton County Public Librarian Gayla Duvall announced to the Clinton County News on Tuesday morning that the Library would be closed until March 30 because of the COVID-19 situation.

She noted that the staff would be working during this time, but there would be no patrons. Reopening the Library will be addressed March 30.

South Kentucky RECC alters payment methods, facility usage

South Kentucky RECC, acting in accordance with the measures that are being taken across the state, will be closing all co-op office lobbies, effective Tuesday, March 17, until further notice, or we are given a defined timeline and restrictions are lifted by national/world health organizations. We understand and realize the inconvenience for this measure. However, the safety, health and well-being of our members and employees are always paramount. Please note that the drive-thru at each office will remain open.

Bills can be paid through the drive-thru at each office, by telephone – (800) 264-5112, online at, by smart phone app (search SKRECC in App or Play stores) or at the Somerset kiosk. Members simply need their member number, located on their bill, to navigate these options.

We also offer direct withdrawal and have a PrePay program, which allows members the option to pay for their electric before they use it or as they use it. Members can call their local offices or (800) 264-5112 with questions about or assistance with any of these options.

Beginning Monday, March 16, all South Kentucky RECC community rooms will be closed through the end of May. We are contacting those individuals that had rented rooms to inform them of this decision.

Kentucky Primary Election postponed

In a joint move between Governor Beshear and the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office, it was announced Monday that the state’s primary election, originally scheduled for May, had been postponed and would now be held on June 23.

Governor Beshear’s additional actions in regards to steps to contain the spread of COVID-19

• Declared a state of emergency to ensure the state has every resource available to respond

• Issued an executive order to prohibit price gouging

• Announced Kentucky’s COVID-19 informational website, and issued extensive guidance on when to seek care and when to call the state’s hotline, 1-800-722-5725

• Issued an executive order to waive copays, deductibles, cost-sharing and diagnostic testing fees for private insurance and state employees and asked providers to expand their networks to patients that may go outside their normal providers

• Announced that those without insurance will be able to get a test in Kentucky

• Announced strong actions to protect the state’s most vulnerable populations by limiting visitation to senior care and long-term care facilities

• Signed an executive order allowing pharmacies to refill prescriptions for up to 30 days to ensure those vulnerable communities or those who need to self-isolate will have their needed prescriptions

• Closed all state prisons to visitors

• Activated the State Health Operations Center and the State Emergency Operations Center, currently at level three

• Recommended the temporary closure of senior centers to help halt the spread of the virus for those most vulnerable

• Announced that Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) will provide wage replacement benefits for first responders and medical personnel who have been quarantined for COVID-19

• Announced new guidance that state boards and commissions cancel any scheduled in-person meetings and instead use video teleconference technology

• Recommended schools cease in-person classes beginning Monday, March 16, and as of Friday, March 13, all 172 school districts, the Kentucky School for the Blind and Kentucky School for the Deaf had announced closures

• Announced USDA approved the state’s waiver to serve meals during non-traditional instruction days

• Issued guidance to state agencies to allow telecommuting where possible to decrease on-site staffing by up to 50 percent to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and suspended out-of-state travel for state employees

• Recommended businesses also utilize telecommuting and allow employees to work from home if possible

• Advised that all community gatherings be cancelled.

• Provided tips and guidance to assist with physical and mental health during a pandemic

• Recommended childcare centers create to close by the end of the day Friday except for kids of healthcare workers

• Asked hospitals cease elective procedures by Wednesday, March 18

• Held daily, and most days, twice-a-day, media and Facebook live briefings to inform Kentuckians and provide recommended health and safety guidance


A shopper peers up at empty shelves where toilet paper would normally be stocked last weekend at the Dollar General store in Albany, but were empty after shoppers bought up all local supplies. Below, hallways at Albany Elementary School were empty on Monday as schools have been closed for at least two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.