Infection rate declines across Kentucky

As the number of coronavirus cases continue on a steady decline, Harlan Countians see a trend of single-digit daily totals. On Saturday, no cases were reported, the first day in months with no new COVID-19 cases to report in the county excluding holidays.

“I’m thankful for that zero and hope and pray there are many more zeros in the near future,” said Judge-Executive Dan Mosley.

Mosley said Harlan County recorded six new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county’s total to 2,455. There are at least 39 active cases and five hospitalizations currently because of the virus. Approximately 1,800 Harlan Countians have recovered.

The death total stands at 73, placing the mortality rate at 2.97 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,” he said.

The state’s mortality rate is 1.20 percent. The nation’s mortality rate for COVID-19 is 1.82 percent.

“Vaccine locations have increased in Harlan County. ARH has been administering the bulk of the vaccines received in Harlan County since January, and Harlan County Health Department has also been administering the small quantities that they’ve received. Both are continuing to administer,” Mosley said.

“Three new vaccine locations are now online to vaccinate individuals. MCHC in Harlan and Cumberland are administering vaccines. You can sign up by calling 606-633-6081 or by visiting mchc.ky.com/covid. Appointments are currently being scheduled for each Saturday at these MCHC locations. Walgreens at in Cumberland is also receiving an allotment of vaccines for distribution. You can sign up online at www.walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19.”

Kentucky is now in Phase 1C of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Priority will continue to be given to Phase 1B individuals, such as those who are 70 and older, first responders and K-12 personnel.

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) associated with COVID-19, and frontline and essential workers.

A full list of those who fall under Phase 1C is available on the state’s website for COVID-19, accessible by the QR code in this article.

“More than one million people in Kentucky have received at least one dose of the vaccine. So far, 1,002,356 people have received at least a first dose of the vaccine in Kentucky, an increase of 168,000 plus from last Monday. This includes those allocated for and administered in long-term care facilities,” Mosley said.

In Harlan County, as of Monday, more than 6,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered by Harlan ARH, the Harlan County Health Department, MCHC, Walgreens or the contracted pharmacies assigned to service the long-term care facilities and assisted-living facility. Roughly 3,975 doses have been first doses and approximately 2,040 doses have been second dose vaccines.

Mosley said contact tracing is more manageable now with the decline in cases, but if you test positive, you should reach out to those who you’ve been around for 15 minutes or more, 6 feet apart or less, to advise them to quarantine and monitor for symptoms. All household contacts should automatically quarantine.

“Respected doctors are saying that anyone who is exposed, is strongly encouraged to quarantine for 14 days if any symptoms are experienced or quarantine for 10 days if you have no symptoms over that time period,” he said.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 396 new cases on Monday in Kentucky, bringing the state’s total cases to 416,610. The state’s death total from COVID-19 is now at 5,005 and its positivity rate currently sits at 3.99 percent, continuing to decline.

The United States death toll from COVID-19 is now over 535,600, up more than 10,000 deaths since Monday evening of last week.

“Let’s all continue to wear our masks to show support for our brave healthcare workers. They are overworked and are trying to save lives each day,” Mosley said. “They need our support to finish this battle. The CDC announced that wearing a mask not only keeps you from spreading the virus if you are carrying it, but it also makes you 70 percent less likely to catch the virus.”

Harlan Countians should continue to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell. If you have those symptoms, call your healthcare provider to schedule a COVID-19 test.

Mosley asked locals to continue practicing healthy habits to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
• Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water.
• Clean and then disinfect frequently used surfaces.
• Stay home if you’re sick.
• Avoid touching your face.
• Wear a cloth mask when going into public.

Daily COVID-19 totals are available on the Harlan County Health Department Facebook page.