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Be prepared, not scared


Independent Photo || SARAH MARKLAND
HAPPY BIRTHDAY THROUGH THE WINDOW:  The family of Leander Brooks, known as Bear, celebrated his 94th birthday through the window while the Salyersville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center complies with the governor's order to have all nursing homes closed to visitors to protect the residents from COVID-19. Happy belated birthday, Bear, and your family promise to celebrate properly at a later date! Thanks to Brooke Jenkins for sharing this photo!

Here we are, another week into the coronavirus pandemic, with changes being made daily that affect all of our lives.

As many of you are, most of us here at the SI are working from home to produce this paper, remoting into our work computers and trying to do everything via phone and email. It’s not a perfect system, but we’ll figure it out as we go.

At press time, there are 198 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state of Kentucky and there have been five deaths to date. Right now, we still don’t have a confirmed case in Magoffin County, but that is little solace since we already know it is in every community in the state. 

Testing has increased since last week, but still not quite where it should be. Governor Andy Beshear explains nightly the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE) for the medical field, which is a nationwide problem. 

By this evening (Thursday, March 26) all non-life-sustaining businesses are to be closed to the public and a “Healthy at Home” initiative is being stressed statewide. People are being asked to stay home, practice good hygiene and social distancing (at least 6 feet apart), only get out when it’s necessary and to not hoard supplies and food. 

Beshear has assured the public that life-sustaining businesses will remain open, with people always able to access the things they need, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, asking the public to not panic. 

The website,, remains the main online link to accurate COVID-19 news in the state, and the Kentucky COVID-19 Hotline, (800) 722-5725, is available for those that are worried but well. If you are sick, but would not normally seek care prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, you are asked to call your local healthcare provider. If you are sick and have an emergency, you are encouraged to call your doctor and/or seek medical care, though most local healthcare centers do ask that you call ahead of time so they can prepare for your arrival.

Another hotline has also opened up since last week, with the KYSAFER Hotline, which is for reporting any large gatherings of people or establishments not in compliance with the directives and protocols for limiting the spread of COVID-19. 

If you have been unemployed or laid off due to the coronavirus, you are encouraged to go to to file a claim for unemployment, with the seven days waiting period and seeking work requirement waived. 

The Team Kentucky fund with Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet to provide financial assistance to Kentuckians whose employment has been affected by #COVID19. Make a tax-deductible donation here:

While hopefully no one reading this is in the “what’s the big deal” boat anymore, let’s run through the importance of the orders, again. Basically, the governor and local leaders and making sure everything that is not essential is closed to public access, people are not gathering in any way, and those that are out are practicing good hygiene, social distancing and staying home, especially when sick. The coronavirus has proven to be quite infectious, spreading easily from person to person, with a long incubation period (up to two weeks), with people infecting others days, maybe even weeks before showing symptoms. Most people will experience mild to moderate symptoms, but for some, with higher risks for the population over 60 years old or immunocompromised, the coronavirus is bad for causing severe pneumonia. If people do not practice social distancing and staying home, this will spread faster than the medical field can keep up, leading to medical providers having to decide who gets care and who does not. They’ll basically have to decide who gets to live and who has to die. This is already happening in other places in the world, so just stay home.

And it’s not all bad. Truth be told, if I’m being honest, this is invaluable time I’m getting with by wonderfully wild two-year-old (though he likes to steal my post-its).

Churches are closed for services, but Sunday morning you can basically church shop on Facebook with all the churches providing worship via live streams. Many of our local businesses are closed to the public, but you can still get curbside or delivery services, which is a big plus when you’re working from home, your house has been demolished by the kiddos doing NTI science experiments and you just don’t feel brave enough to venture into IGA until you can’t make toast. I’m looking at you, Pizza-N-More. The pizza roll pizza is on the menu tonight for the Oney clan. 

If you get too bored, reach out to our local leaders and ask what you can do. We’re hoping to have a full list of these types of things for next week’s paper. If that doesn’t speak to you, check out the “andy beshear memes for social distancing teens” Facebook page. It’s a guaranteed laugh and we all need that.

As always, we’ll continue to help share the local information in the paper, on our website, as well as on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also encourage you to follow Magoffin County Judge/Executive Matt Wireman, the Magoffin County Health Department and Magoffin County Schools Facebook pages.

Be prepared, not scared.


Heather Oney

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