February lowest for case totals since October

The last day of February was Sunday, closing out the lowest month of COVID-19 totals since October, according to local officials.

In Monday’s update on the virus in Harlan County, Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said only 36 cases of COVID-19 were reported last week, with no additional deaths since last Monday.

“Our death total remains at 72 Harlan Countians lost to COVID-19,” he said.

The mortality rate in Harlan continues to be one of the top ten highest in the state at 3 percent. Kentucky’s was recently reported at 1.14 percent and the nation’s at 1.79 percent.

On Monday, five new cases of the virus were reported in Harlan County. Mosley said 26 of the last 29 days, the county has recorded single-digit daily totals, something he noted as an outstanding improvement from previous months.

The total case count stands at 2,395, with approximately 1,700 of those individuals who have made recoveries.

There are at least 47 active cases currently in Harlan County, nine of which are currently hospitalized.

“Harlan County remains in the orange category in the state incidence rate map and we stayed in the orange again today (Monday). Our incidence rate is currently 18.7,” Mosley said. “As of today, there are 25 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 announced 509 new cases on Monday in Kentucky, bringing the state’s total cases to 405,126. The state has seen a decline in cases for seven consecutive weeks.

Kentucky’s death total from COVID-19 is now at 4,652, with a positivity rate of 4.84 percent, the lowest in months and down 1.76 percent from last Monday.

The United States death toll from COVID-19 is now over 514,216, up more than 14,100 deaths since Monday evening of last week.

Mosley said Phase 1C of the vaccination process is now underway, with priority continue being given to those belonging to the Phase 1B group, including people 70 and over, first responders and K-12 personnel.

“Most of Phase 1A and a lot of folks in Phase 1B who have registered have already been vaccinated,” he said.

Phase 1C is defined as anyone 60 or older, anyone 16 or older with a medical condition that is high risk (cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, down syndrome, heart conditions, immuno-compromised state, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease or type 2 diabetes) and frontline/essential workers.

Those defined as frontline/essential workers by the Department of Public Health include public safety workers, social workers, correctional center staff, pre-k education staff, childcare providers, post-secondary education staff, community and technical college staff, engineers, fish and wildlife officers, U.S. postal workers, food service personnel, food and agriculture sector (meat and other food processing facility workers), veterinary services and staff, drivers of high occupancy vehicles (more than 6 people), daycare workers, water and wastewater utilities, legal, airport/train security staff, transportation and logistics, grocery store employees, finance workers, pastors, clergy and faith leaders, transportation network companies, communications/media workers, manufacturing workers, housing/construction workers, cyber-security and infrastructure workers, public transit workers, information and technology communications workers and energy personnel (coal miners).

You can register online through the ARHcovid19.com portal or by calling 1-855-ARH-CARE.

“Please be patient. We hope additional vaccines will be made available to other providers soon to expand capacity. As you can see, Phase 1C is very large and will take time to navigate through it,” Mosley said. “Fortunately, the state is expected to receive 700,000 vaccines this month, which will double what has been received to this point in time.”

So far, 699,398 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.

In Harlan County, as of Monday, more than 4,600 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.

Nearly 2,900 doses have been first doses, and approximately 1,700 doses have been second dose vaccines.

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