ACA sees COVID-19 rise in cadets, staff

Reporting an additional three cases on Monday, Judge-Executive Dan Mosley raised concerns about a slight increase in cases last week compared to its previous, noting Harlan concluded the week with 29 new cases, up two from the previous week’s total.

Mosley said a large percentage of the reported cases were directly attributable to the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy, where 18 of the 29 total weekly cases were connected to the facility’s cadets, staff or household contacts of staff.

“The staff and leadership at the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy are doing a wonderful job in taking care of these students during this pandemic and have the support of parents of cadets in the program,” he said. “They are in daily contact with the Health Department and are keeping this outbreak under control within the walls of the facility. I can’t say enough good things about how they’ve handled this situation and how they continue to provide services to the cadets there during this time.”

Mosley said the Department of Military Affairs is working closely with the institution to provide additional support as needed. He said a high percentage of the cadets who tested positive are asymptomatic.

Of the 398 total cases, two of the three cases reported on Monday were linked to other recent positive cases associated with the ACA.

There are currently 37 active cases in Harlan County, with five hospitalized, 350 recovered and 11 reported deaths.

As of noon on Sept. 14:

— 6,064 tests have been conducted

— 5,666 tests have been negative

Mosley said 21.6 percent of the county’s population have been tested since the pandemic began, showing a positivity rate of 6.5 percent of those who were tested.

This does not include tests that were negative on residents of Harlan County who were tested out of county and out of state. Experts say these numbers of positive cases do not give the whole picture because many cases, including mild or asymptomatic infections, have not been diagnosed.

If you were a close contact of any of the positive cases, the Health Department will reach out to you as part of their contact tracing process.

“Please remember to keep folks dealing with this virus, including our health care and frontline workers, and those who have lost loved ones to it, in your thoughts and prayers,” Mosley said.

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