Totals drop again for fourth week

Although many are afraid to acknowledge the steady decline of coronavirus cases in Harlan County for fear of jinxing the trend, numbers continue to show local health officials there is a decrease in those who are becoming sick with the virus for the fourth straight week.

Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said as of last week, he is happy to announce there were only 30 cases confirmed compared to those well into the triple digits for December and January, noting this is the lowest weekly total since mid-October.

“Unfortunately, another Harlan Countian has been lost to this virus, the health department confirmed today (Monday),” he said. “Our death total has now reached 72 Harlan Countians lost to COVID-19. Our mortality rate is now 3.00 percent, and remains one of the top ten highest COVID-19 mortality rates in Kentucky. Please continue to remember the families of these folks in your prayers, as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.”

Mosley also said the United States death toll reached a grim milestone Monday evening, reporting over 500,000 total deaths throughout the nation.

On Monday, 10 new cases of the virus were reported in the county. Prior to the start of the week, 18 of the last 19 consecutive days, Mosley said Harlan has recorded single-digit daily cases, “which is an outstanding improvement from previous weeks and months.”

There are at least 54 active cases in Harlan County at this time, with 11 of these individuals being hospitalized.

The current total of cases stands at 2,364, with 1,650 of those who have recovered.

“Harlan County remains in the orange category on the state incidence rate map, and we stayed in the orange again today (Monday). Our incidence rate is currently 16.5,” Mosley said. “As of today (Monday), there are 33 out of 120 total counties in Kentucky that are still in the red category, the lowest number of counties in this red category in a few months.”

Gov. Andy Beshear also announced 530 new cases in Kentucky on Monday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 397,526 with a positivity rate of 6,60 percent. Kentucky’s death toll stands at 4,460.

So far, 583,754 people have received at least a first dose of the vaccine in Kentucky. This includes those allocated for and administered in long-term care facilities.

The state continues to operate in Phase 1B of the vaccine plan this week, which includes people who are 70+ years old, first responders and K-12 school personnel.

Beshear said that regional vaccination sites will open to Kentuckians in Phase 1C beginning March 1, and he expects other vaccination sites to move into Phase 1C around the same time.
Phase 1C includes anyone age 60 or older, anyone age 16 or older with CDC highest risk COVID-19 risk conditions and all essential workers.

“More quantities of the vaccine are becoming available each week, however, supply is still lower than demand. We must all continue to be patient with this process. I assure you that our healthcare providers are getting vaccines in people’s arms as fast as they’re received,” Mosley said.

As of Monday in Harlan County, more than 3,700 doses of the vaccine have been administered by Harlan ARH, the Harlan County Health Department or the contracted pharmacies assigned to service the long-term care facilities and assisted-living facility.

More than 2,400 doses have been first doses and approximately 1,320 doses have been second dose vaccines.

Mosley said he will continue to provide a weekly update between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday evenings concerning COVID-19 in Harlan County.

For daily totals, follow the Harlan County Health Department Facebook page.