Local businesses continue struggling in COVID surge

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

While case numbers continue to climb in Harlan County, record totals continue to be shattered time and time again.

September ended with 1,267 total COVID-19 cases, and according to local health officials, it is the highest monthly total since Dec. 2020, with a reported 677 cases.

Another 23 locals also died from the virus last month, including two teachers within days of one another.

Local businesses in Harlan County also continue to struggle through the pandemic, especially during the surge of cases recently reported.

Misty Smith, owner of Craftin’ Around, said the COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed her business.

“What was once a booming little craft store barley makes enough now to keep our employees with a job. Factories shutting down and over-seas shipments put on hold leave shops like ours with little inventory to work with, outrageous pricing for the little man and customers going elsewhere. Not to mention, lockdowns sent a lot of customers online to find their supplies from big chain stores who were able to offer more,” she said.

Smith said even 18 months into the pandemic as a business, her supplies are still very limited and shipping has continued to be an issue.

“Shipments that once came within a day are taking three to five days now,” she said. “I keep hoping that things will look up for us, but the truth is, after five years in business, Craftin’ Around is hanging by a thread.”

Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said cases have remained high for another week in Harlan County although a slight decline was reported the last two weeks.

“Last week, we recorded 224 new cases. This is less than the previous two week counts of 295 and 351 respectively. Last week still accounts for the sixth-highest week on record since the pandemic began. We must continue to see cases decline. I certainly hope and pray we have peaked.”

Mosley said the Harlan County Health Department did not report new cases Monday because of technology issues, but there were 36 new cases Monday, which will be reflected in Tuesday’s report.

The county’s total case count stands at 5,042 through Monday, with 352 active cases currently.

“Our hospitalized cases has declined some again since last Monday. There are currently 13 Harlan Countians hospitalized with COVID-19. Two of the hospitalized individuals are in Intensive Care (ICU). Approximately 3,200 Harlan Countians have recovered from the virus,” Mosley said.

Mosley also shared some statistics from the period of March 1 to Sept. 22:
• 86.7 percent of all COVID-19 cases have been among those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated;
• 92.1 percent of all COVID-19 hospitalizations have been among those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated;
• 84.6 percent of COVID-19 deaths have been among those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

It was also announced last week that five more Harlan Countians have died as a result of the virus, bringing the county’s death toll to 129.

Vaccines are available for anyone 12 and older and are available locally at Harlan ARH, Daniel Boone Clinic, Dr. Dahhan’s office, MCHC in Harlan and Cumberland, Donell’s Pharmacy, Walgreens, Harlan County Health Department, Clover Fork Clinic in Harlan and Evarts, Tri-City ARH Clinic, Food City, CVS, and Wal-Mart.

Those requiring transportation to get a vaccine are instructed to call Harlan County CAA at 606-573-5335.

More than 2.7 million people in Kentucky have received at least one dose of the vaccine. So far, 2,719,398 people have received at least a first dose of the vaccine in Kentucky. This represents 61 percent of the entire state population that has been vaccinated.

“In Harlan County, as of Monday, 11,882 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, up 179 from last Monday,” Mosley said. “That represents 45.68 percent of the entire population. 11,347 have been people 18 and older. 3,609 of the total vaccinated have been people 65 and older.”

Harlan County remains in the red category on the state incidence map, which reported 126.3 on Monday.

The state reported 1,239 new cases in Kentucky Monday. The state’s death total from COVID-19 is now at 8,906, and its positivity rate currently sits at 9.31 percent, as of Monday.

The United States death toll from COVID-19 is now over 703,200, up more than 13,200 people since last Monday.

“I will provide another comprehensive update next Monday evening. As always, you can refer to the Harlan County Health Department page for the daily case numbers,” Mosley said. “Please remember to keep folks dealing with this virus in your thoughts and prayers.”