Harlan sees decrease in COVID-19 cases

Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said it is evident COVID-19 cases continue to decrease throughout the county as individuals continue to wear masks and social distance during his update Monday night.

Mosley said with four new cases being reported before the deadline on Monday, Harlan County now has 299 confirmed cases.

The four new cases include a 47-year-old male, 63-year-old female, 67-year-old female and 36-year-old female.

There are currently 35 active cases, 258 cases that have recovered, six reported deaths and eight cases that are now hospitalized.

As of noon. on Aug. 17:

— 4,797 tests have been conducted

— 4,493 tests have been negative

— Four tests are currently pending

— One test has been invalid

Mosley said more than 17 percent of the county’s population has been tested since the pandemic began, with 6.2 percent of those tested being positive.

“Gov. Andy Beshear has recommended that in-person classes at schools not start until at least Sept. 28,” he said. “He stated that he felt that it was safer for all involved, including students, teachers and guardians, that classes not resume in person at this time due to Kentucky still seeing high numbers of COVID-19 cases.”

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 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 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.

Mosley said he will continue to give a weekly COVID-19 update every Monday night, including if there is a spike in cases or new concern of community spread in another area of the county.

He also asked locals to refer to the Harlan County Health Department Facebook page after Tuesday for the number of daily cases.

“It’s important that I continue to monitor this situation daily, assist the Health Department and communicate relevant information, but it’s also important that I devote time to issues and projects we continue to focus on for the betterment of Harlan County during the pandemic and have a meaningful impact on our county after it ends,” he said. “I appreciate the opportunity to do this work for you and take the responsibility very seriously. This new approach will allow me some additional time to bring some things that have hit the back burner since March back to the front burner and continue moving our county forward.”