No new local cases of coronavirus disease 2019 were announced Tuesday during the Christian County Health Department COVID-19 press conference.
However, Gracious Me! home decor and gifts store is closed after an employee — the 21-year-old woman whom CCHD said tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 Monday — told the owner she was a contact of another local case.
“I was aware that the employee was being tested, and then I was called by the health department to tell me she tested positive,” said Gracious Me! owner Sherry Calhoun in a phone interview. “They advised us to self-quarantine, but we decided as a staff it was best not to have any contact with any customers.”
Calhoun posted a Facebook message to the community Tuesday morning stating that the store will be closed for the rest of the month.
“Although she has not been in the store for seven days, we have made the decision to close Gracious Me! for any transactions through March 31st, the recommended 14-day period,” the post stated.
Calhoun said Tuesday evening the last time the employee was with the rest of the staff was March 18 when — due to a different mode of scheduling — Calhoun minimized her staff from eight to three.
“The last time all of us were together was for a short period of time, I feel confident with our self quarantining that we will be OK,” Calhoun said. “My concern is more for my staff member.”
The 21-year-old woman is the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Hopkinsville. A 24-year-old male who works at Hopkinsville Community College is the presumptive third case, until his results are verified by the Kentucky state lab.
The two are direct contacts, the health department confirmed Monday.
Beth McCraw, vice president of Nursing and Clinical Services at Jennie Stuart Health, said 12 local patients’ results have come back negative for COVID-19; however, the turnaround on results is still a waiting game.
So far, nearly 40 patients have been tested for COVID-19 at the drive-thru Express Lab on Eagle Way, based on numbers provided by Dr. Keith Toms. The screening and testing lab will be open Wednesday for those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
As the wait for more tests and results continues, Calhoun is staying at home to protect herself from the possibilities of COVID-19.
“About a month and a half ago, one of my staff members ordered a mask, sanitizer and gloves because I’m already undergoing chemotherapy myself,” Calhoun said. “It’s been about two weeks that I’ve been at home just for what I’m going through. I’ve gotten out and ridden around in a car and that’s all I’ve done.”
Calhoun noted that her customers range from children to the elderly, who have been identified as the most vulnerable.
“I really wish everyone would think about themselves as the possible carriers of the virus,” she said. “My parents are close to 90, and a lot of people have parents and grandparents that fall into that area of risk. Just think about how you would feel if someone you were close to were to get the virus. ... I think the more that is said about it, the more people realize it is serious.”
As far as how this will affect her business, Calhoun said she knows the community will show up.
“It will cause a hardship on our business, but the community that supports us does so in such a great way that we felt like (closing temporarily) was a great way to support the community,” she said. “I also know that when we do reopen that the community is going to support us even greater than they did in the past.”