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Active cases near 100, more than 300 quarantined

Judge-Executive Dan Mosley announced 98 of the total 163 COVID-19 cases are active during an update Thursday as Harlan County’s numbers continue to rise, leaving more than 300 locals isolated while they quarantine for a 14-day period.

“We have received confirmation of 11 new COVID-19 cases in Harlan County. Gov. Andy Beshear announced 19 today, that’s cases from late last week due to a backlog in reporting,” he said.

Of the total 165 cases, there are 98 active cases, with six of them being hospitalized.

There have also been 64 people who have recovered from the virus and three deaths.

Mosley said two of the 11 new cases reside in the same household, with another two tracing back to other active cases.

The 11 new cases include a 43-year-old female (symptomatic), 36-year-old female (symptomatic), 58-year-old female (asymptomatic), 61-year-old male, 29-year-old male, 65-year-old female, 66-year-old female, 68-year-old male (symptomatic; hospitalized), 68-year-old female (symptomatic), 42-year-old female (symptomatic) and 47-year-old female.

Mosley said the Harlan County Health Department is working to retrieve more information about the new cases and their conditions as the tests were received in the past few hours.

He said community spread in the Dayhoit, Tremont, Wallins and Coldiron areas account for more than 65 percent of the county’s cases in the last two to three weeks.

“We saw community spread get under control in the Tri-City area a few weeks ago. Now, we must focus on continuing to contain the spread again. I know we can and that we will,” he said.

He is encouraging locals to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough and loss of taste and/or smell.

“If we have those symptoms, we need to call our health care provider about getting tested or what level of care we need. If you are sick, please stay home,” he said.

Mosley said a good friend of his tested positive for the virus earlier this week, but he had not been around him in 10 days.

“When we were in contact with one another, we were more than six feet apart and had masks on. He actually got tested last week because he had been around someone previously who tested positive,” he said.

Mosley said his friend’s test was negative last week.

“However, this weekend, he developed symptoms, nearly nine days after his last known contact with a positive case. This proves that symptoms can develop three to 10 days from contact just like health officials have been telling us,” he said.

In a conversation via text Tuesday night, Mosley’s friend gave the following statement that he gave permission to share:

“Just wanted to let you know I’ve tested positive for COVID. I tested negative Wednesday. Got sick Sunday evening late. I felt great Sunday morning. I’ve been really sick since Sunday night. I’m feeling better today than yesterday and hopefully am on my way to a speedy recovery. I am typically a picture of health but this thing is no joke. It’s like the worst case of flu you ever had times 10. I say this just to point out this is no time for us to let our guard down. This thing is awful and we need to take it serious. I couldn’t imagine going through this not being as healthy as I am. I wear a mask, I try to social distance to the best of my ability, I wash my hands, I’ve even added a vitamin c supplement for the last few months. Continue to stress the importance of these things. Be safe!”

A mask mandate is also in effect by Beshear. Mosley said if anyone needs a mask, call his office at 606-573-2600 and “we will gladly mail you one.”

Mosley said it is also important that businesses are conducting health screenings of employees when they arrive for work, including temperature checks.

“A business should never allow an employee who is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms to work their shift and potentially infect others,” he said. “Healthy at Work guidelines can be viewed at healthyatwork.ky.gov. Protect your employees by following these guidelines and in turn you are protecting your customers and your community.”

He said the Health Department determines if a business needs to close for cleaning if an employee who works for the facility tests positive.

“Some businesses have voluntarily closed on their own out of an abundance of caution to clean. If you have questions or concerns about this, I would encourage you to speak directly with the health department,” he said.

To report non-compliance of COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, Mosley said to call the Harlan County Health Department at 606-573-4820.

If you were a close contact of any of the positive cases, the Health Department will reach out to you directly as part of its contact tracing and will instruct you on what measures are necessary to protect you and your family.