Harlan COVID total stands at 1,861, vaccines on the way

As coronavirus comes continue to soar across Kentucky, Judge-Executive Dan Mosley continues with his weekly updates on Monday in an attempt to keep locals updated about the latest figures, including vaccines making their way to Harlan County.

“Last week, we experienced another record week of COVID-19 cases in Harlan County with 202 new cases. Four of our last six weeks in Harlan have set records for number of cases in a week,” he said. “With the fact that we’ve seen 973 cases since Nov. 29, of our 1,861 total, I remain concerned about this surge and high case numbers continuing.”

On Monday, Harlan County recorded 23 new cases of COVID-19.

Mosley said the Harlan County Health Department is working to obtain written confirmations of COVID-19 deaths, with the current death total reported at 40, as 12 additional death confirmations were received since Monday of last week.

“Sadly, we believe this number is higher. It’s a sad time for many families and they need our prayers,” he said.

There are at least 258 active cases currently in Harlan County, with at least 32 people hospitalized with the virus. Approximately 1,150 Harlan Countians have recovered.

“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,” Mosley said. “We are hopeful as case counts come down, more follow-ups can be conducted on the nearly 700 cases we had in December, and more than 200 already this month 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 and a few even remain hospitalized.”

The federal government has allocated 262,950 vaccines to Kentucky to this point. So far, 130,355 vaccines have been administered across Kentucky, including those allocated for and administered in long-term care facilities.

CVS and Walgreens’ pharmacies have been contracted by the federal government to vaccinate long-term care facilities across the state. Appalachian Regional Healthcare also announced Monday they are now scheduling appointments for citizens 70 and older who want to get a vaccine.

“The Harlan County Health Department received another 100 vaccines today (Monday) and are continuing to vaccinate remaining healthcare workers and first responders who were not vaccinated two weeks ago. We hope more quantities of the vaccine are received in the near future so that we can see additional folks vaccinated,” Mosley said.

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 Kentucky be administered within seven days of arrival.

Mosley said he is refraining from taking the vaccine at this time, though he feels it is safe and effective, as a way to give others who may be more vulnerable the opportunity to protect themselves from the virus.

“I want to once again thank each of you for the many prayers for our family over the last two weeks. We truly feel the prayers and are blessed by them,” he said in a Facebook post to locals regarding his own family’s battle with COVID-19.

“Stephanie continues to improve. She is out of isolation and she continues to experience fatigue, and has no taste or smell, but is much much better. She’s still taking a variety of Vitamins including Zinc, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D3,” he said. “Jo Jo continues to have mild symptoms and is in good spirits, even though she doesn’t feel well. Sabby and I are still symptom free at this time and started a new quarantine period Friday due to being a contact of Jo Jo. As I’ve told Sabby, quarantine isn’t much fun, but this virus is no fun at all, and we’ll do our part to make sure we don’t spread it to anyone, should we be carrying it. He’s handled this whole situation very well, with a great attitude, I’m proud of him.”

Mosley said although following guidelines are important, there is a new guideline he does not think is “adequate and should be quashed.”

“The CDC updated guidelines a few weeks ago, allowing for people to leave quarantine after seven days from exposure, if a person had no symptoms and a negative test after five days,” he said. “We didn’t choose to follow this option and I’m glad we didn’t. This CDC quarantine option is not adequate, obviously, and is likely resulting in this virus spreading even worse. It needs to be revisited and eliminated. I would not advise anyone to follow this particular guidance.”

For daily, local updates regarding COVID-19, see the Harlan County Health Department Facebook page or scan the QR code below to view updated numbers in Kentucky.