Craig stays in close contact with health officials, fears cases will get worse before better

Posted July 21, 2020 at 2:58 pm

Clinton County Judge Executive Ricky Craig announced two positive cases on Sunday and one on Monday, putting Clinton County at seven positive cases as of presstime, with eight cases being released from isolation.

That brings Clinton County’s numbers up to 15 total since the pandemic began in March of this year.

Clinton County still remains at the bottom of the list of the 10 county Lake Cumberland District with the lowest number of total cases. Cumberland County is the second lowest with 20.

Pulaski County is number one on the list with number of cases with 182 total, while Adair County is second on the list with 179.

“Honestly I think we will have a couple today,” Craig said on Monday morning.

During the pandemic, the Lake Cumberland District Health Department has been in close contact with the 10 counties in its area and Craig said there is no set time as to when he is notified.

“Sometimes we get it at mid-day and sometimes in the afternoon,” Craig said. “That’s kind of all we go by. They won’t tell us who or where they are in the county because of HIPAA. I added a little to it and have been telling the sex of the individual because that’s what they are telling me and I think people need to know that.”

Since mid-March, citizens of Clinton County have had to learn a new normal for everyday life. Craig said he doesn’t believe it’s close to being over at this point.

“We’ve faced opposition with this and people have been really good so far,” Craig said. “We are asking everybody if they come in to the courthouse, or wherever, to wear their mask. Take the proper precautions with washing your hands, good hygiene and social distancing. Keep in mind the people you are around. This is a serious thing.”

Craig said he has had some people laugh about it and others say “it ain’t that bad,” but he believes it is as serious as it gets.

“I just hope and pray they find a vaccine for it,” Craig said. “Then we can kind of go on with our lives. I urge everyone to be careful and stay aware of your surroundings. That’s about all we can do right now.”

Taking on the position of county judge has it’s own issues, but when you lay a pandemic on the table, Craig said it’s a whole other ball game.

“It’s just like the governor said one day when he first took office it all came down on me … kind of like myself when I took office. The first three or four months was pretty good then we found all of this stuff we shouldn’t have found. It just caved in on me. The IRS and everything,” Craig said. “We’ve been fortunate and we climbed out of that hole and balanced our budget. We’ve got everybody paid to my knowledge … the Lord has really blessed us.”

Craig said when Governor Andy Beshear closed down business it really hurt the county with funds, but he said he is doing everything he can to cut spending where he can.

“We have got it to where we can go through it week by week to see what’s going to happen,” Craig said. “I’ve had some of our employees to go home and switch them out from week to week. It’s been pretty tough, but like I said the good Lord has brought us through it.”

Craig believes the pandemic could go on through the remaining year.

“It’s all according to the vaccine,” Craig said. “Even if they do find one, it’s going to take a process to get that out to everyone.”

With the governor expected to tighten down on the restrictions in Kentucky this week, people’s lively hoods could be in jeopardy.

“It’s hard on these little grocery stores and our restaurants and our little businesses around our square. It’s hard on them and that’s how they make a living, but I applaud them. Everybody has been wonderful. I just hope we don’t go back, but I hope we can manage this thing too.”

One of the main restrictions that came up last week was the mandatory wearing of masks in the State of Kentucky.

“I agree it’s hard to and there are some people who can’t wear one,” Craig said. “When I first put mine on and started wearing one, I thought this is burning me up, but I’ve got used to it. I wore mine home the other day. I got in the car and wore it home. I think it’s something we have to get used to. If it can save a life, then it’s worth it. I wear mine because of my wife because she has health problems. I don’t want to take something home to her. I admire the people who do wear them and there’s nothing wrong with that. We are all in this together.”

As far as getting tested, Craig said people can go to the hospital or the health department. Craig said he is working on getting another round of testing that will be available to the public.

“Myself and Lucas (Abner), our EMS Chief, are going to try and set up another test date here,” Craig said. “Maybe it’s something we can do on a weekend and people can come by and get it done.”

With the rising numbers in the state, Craig believes it will get worse before it gets better.

“I think our little county is going to see several people stricken by this,” Craig said. “I just hope for the best. I think everyone sees the severeness of this.”

With Clinton County being in the 10 county Lake Cumberland District, Clinton County has been on the low end with only 15 total cases.

“That’s been pretty good,” Craig said. “I think that’s one reason why ours is low is because the mandate that has been put on, we have followed it and stuck to it. We’ve been careful. It’s like the courthouse … we are sanitizing everything we’ve got. It’s a big job.”

Without having the normal amount of traffic in and out of his office, Craig says he does feel a little more distant from the public, but the use the of phone and other technology has been keeping his contact at a steady pace.

“We have an extreme amount of phone calls,” Craig said. “Through our social media page we are trying to keep people informed. I wish I could get out there and have more contact with the people, but sometimes it’s just hard to do.”