County records 339 cases, 5 deaths so far in Dec.

Totaling 339 new cases so far in December alone, Harlan County remains in the red category on the state incidence map with its highest cases in the past two weeks since the start of the pandemic in Kentucky.

“November was the highest month of COVID-19 cases on record since the pandemic began for Harlan County. The last two weeks numbers have been staggering,” said Judge-Executive Dan Mosley. “We recorded 135 cases two weeks ago and 176 cases last week. That’s 311 total the last two weeks, a higher total in two weeks than in any month since the pandemic began. Our county is definitely in the middle of the worst surge of COVID-19 cases we’ve seen.”

In Monday’s update, Mosley said his report lacked some information he would normally provide, such as long-term care facilities.

“Due to the high volume of cases, health department personnel have been extremely overwhelmed attempting to contact trace, check on positive cases, and prepare for the first round of vaccines coming to Harlan County,” he said. “What I can tell you with certainty is that this virus is spreading faster right now than it ever has. Please do what is necessary to protect yourself and those you care about. This virus can be contained if we all exhibit personal responsibility in how we conduct ourselves and our daily lives.”

On Monday, health officials received confirmation of 24 additional cases of COVID-19 in Harlan County, bringing the total number of cases to 1,261.

There are more than 200 active cases currently in the county, with14 people currently hospitalized and 21 total deaths related to the virus.

Approximately 900 Harlan Countians have recovered from COVID-19.

Mosley said contact tracing has become very difficult for health officials because of the spike in cases the county has seen. As an extra precaution, any who tests positive for the virus is asked to reach out to those they have been around for 15 minutes or more, 6 feet apart or less, to advise them to quarantine and monitor for symptoms.

“The CDC still recommends anyone who has been around a positive case should be tested, especially if you have symptoms,” Mosley said.

Harlan County remains in a red  category in the state incidence rate map. The incidence rate is currently 121.4, the highest on record for the county. As of Monday, Mosley said there are 118 out of 120 total counties in Kentucky that are in the red category.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,802 new cases on Monday in Kentucky, bringing the state’s total cases to 224,890. The state’s death total from COVID-19 is now at 2,224, and the state’s positivity rate currently sits at 8.58 percent, down 1.02 percent from last Monday.

According to a press release, the United States death toll from COVID-19 is now over 300,400, up more than 16,900 deaths since Monday evening of last week, making last week the deadliest week on record during the pandemic for the second consecutive week.

“I will continue to provide a weekly update between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday evenings concerning COVID-19 moving forward and will provide other relevant information regarding our incidence rate or community spread that needs communicated when necessary. You can refer to the Harlan County Health Department page for the daily case numbers,” Mosley said.