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County tops 200 COVID-19 cases

Judge-Executive Dan Mosley announced 12 new cases on Wednesday, after Harlan County saw no new positives the previous day. Mosley said he was thankful Tuesday when no other positives needed to be announced, but asked the locals to still continue wearing a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We have received confirmation of 12 new COVID-19 cases in Harlan County, two of which live in the same household. One other case lives in the same household of a case announced on Monday,” he said. “Three of the new cases are contacts of other positive cases and three others are still being looked into by the health department as part of their contact tracing process.”

Of the total 202 cases, there are 55 active cases, with eight hospitalized. 

There have also been 143 people who have recovered from the virus and four deaths. 

The  12 new cases include a 49-year-old female (symptomatic), 69-year-old male (symptomatic), 72-year-old male (symptomatic), 37-year-old female (symptomatic), 44-year-old male (symptomatic), 17-year-old male (asymptomatic), 25-year-old female (symptomatic), 76-year-old male (symptomatic), 19-year-old female (symptomatic), 65-year-old female (symptomatic), 23-year-old male (symptomatic) and 34-year-old female (symptomatic).

Mosley said there are now only four active cases within the Wallins, Dayhoit, Tremont and Coldiron communities, an area that he and health officials were concerned about regarding community spread. 

“This is phenomenal news for these communities. At one point week before last, more than 70 cases were active in this area, so things have greatly improved there,” he said.

Mosley said health officials remained concerned about spread in the Evarts area, which has a total of 28 active cases tied to the community. 

“If you live in this area, you need to make sure you are following all CDC and state guidelines as it is apparent community spread is occurring,” he said. “Let’s get community spread under control before it gets as bad as it was in the other part of the county.”

He noted four active cases are also linked to out-of-state travel — 39 of the county’s 55 active cases countywide.

“We have received confirmation that another employee at the Harlan County Detention Center has tested positive for COVID-19,” Mosley said. 

The employee is a household contact of another case and is not linked to the case reported two weeks ago. 

Mosley said the jail is following all Department of Corrections protocols to ensure the safety of inmates and other staff at the facility.

He is encouraging locals to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough and loss of taste and/or smell. 

“If we have those symptoms, we need to call our health care provider about getting tested or what level of care we need. If you are sick, please stay home,” he said.

A mask mandate is also in effect by Beshear. Mosley said if anyone needs a mask, call his office at 606-573-2600 and “we will gladly mail you one.”

Mosley said it is also important that businesses are conducting health screenings of employees when they arrive for work, including temperature checks.

“A business should never allow an employee who is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms to work their shift and potentially infect others,” he said. “Healthy at Work guidelines can be viewed at healthyatwork.ky.gov. Protect your employees by following these guidelines and in turn you are protecting your customers and your community.”

He said the Health Department determines if a business needs to close for cleaning if an employee who works for the facility tests positive.

“Some businesses have voluntarily closed on their own out of an abundance of caution to clean. If you have questions or concerns about this, I would encourage you to speak directly with the health department,” he said.

To report non-compliance of COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, Mosley said to call the Harlan County Health Department at 606-573-4820.

If you were a close contact of any of the positive cases, the Health Department will reach out to you directly as part of its contact tracing and will instruct you on what measures are necessary to protect you and your family.