Hospital numbers on the rise from COVID-19

In an update from Judge-Executive Dan Mosley, locals were informed that not only was December the worst month for COVID-19 totals, but hospitalizations are also on the rise. 

“We recorded 677 cases in this month (December) alone, which more than doubled the total from November, which was our previous record high month. Last week, we recorded 184 cases, which was our new record for cases in a week,” he said.

On Monday, Harlan County recorded 27 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 1,668 cases.

“The Health Department is working hard to also obtain written confirmations of COVID-19 deaths. Our current death total is reported at 28. This is not accurate and it’s actually likely twice this high just based on information I have received first-hand from families who have lost loved ones to this virus. It’s a sad time for many families and we need to bind together to lift them up in this time,” Mosley said.

There are at least 270 active cases currently in Harlan County, with 30 locals hospitalized from the virus. Approximately 1,100 Harlan Countians have also recovered from the virus. 

Mosley said the number of recoveries are difficult to calculate due to incomplete follow-ups at this time. 

“Just because a case is outside of their quarantine period, doesn’t mean they have recovered from the virus. We are hopeful as case counts come down, more follow-ups can be conducted on the nearly 700 cases we had in December to determine if they have recovered or are still battling the effects of this virus. Many cases from November are also still struggling with this virus,” he said.

On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear also expressed disappointment in how fast the vaccine is being distributed across Kentucky. The federal government has allocated 202,650 vaccines to the state at this point. 

A total of 174,750 vaccines have been received in Kentucky to date, with 60,414 people who have been vaccinated. 

“Local health departments were allocated vaccines to begin vaccinating other healthcare workers not in hospital settings or long-term care facilities and first responders under Phase 1 of the state plan,” Mosley said. “The first allocation of those vaccines were administered last week to some healthcare workers and some first responders in Harlan County. All vaccines received by the Harlan County Health Department have been administered.”

Below is the state plan on implementation of the vaccine in phases:

  • Phase 1A: Long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and healthcare personnel;
  • Phase 1B: First Responders, anyone over the age of 70 and K-12 school personnel;
  • Phase 1C: Anyone over the age of 60, anyone older than 16 with CDC highest risk C19 risk conditions and all essential workers;
  • Phase 2: Anyone over the age of 40;
  • Phase 3: Anyone over the age of 16;
  • Phase 4: Anyone under the age of 16 if the vaccine is approved for this age group, which makes up 18 percent of the Kentucky population.

The state has set a goal that 90 percent of all vaccines received in the state be administered within seven days of arrival. This goal was announced Monday.

“We are hopeful that the next shipment of vaccines will come to Harlan County this week. The Harlan County Health Department will be continuing to follow the state guidelines on administering the vaccines,” Mosley said. “I believe the vaccine is safe and effective. I recommend everyone take this when it is available to you. However, I have declined taking one at this time because I don’t want to take a vaccine away from a person more vulnerable to this virus. I will wait until later after more of our elderly and all of our healthcare providers, first responders, and other critical personnel can get one before I take one.”

The state’s plan for distribution of the vaccines can be found on the website.

Mosley also thanked locals for the prayers and good wishes that were sent to his family when his wife tested positive for the virus a little over a week ago. 

“Stephanie continues to battle this virus. Her symptoms were pretty mild until Thursday evening. She’s had a rough few days but seems some better today. She’s taking a variety of Vitamins including Zinc, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D3 and trying hard to stay hydrated,” he said. “She says the fatigue associated with this virus is by far unlike anything she has experienced with any sickness in her life. We pray that she continues to improve. The rest of our family is still symptom free at this time and are still in quarantine. We’re on Day 8 of quarantine and Day 9 since exposure.”

To stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 numbers in Harlan County, visit the Harlan County Health Department Facebook page or check in each Monday for Mosley’s Facebook reports.