While COVID-19 cases in Letcher County were down last week, they’re up again this week with 10 new cases reported in the past week.
That puts the number of positive cases reported here since early March at 79. Two people in the county have died, and 65 have recovered.
The Kentucky River District Health Department is asking persons who visited the Food City meat department in Whitesburg on August 29 or August 30 to monitor themselves for symptoms. An employee in that department tested positive on Friday.
Those who have tested positive in the past week are a 46-year-old male, a 19-year-old male, a 45-year-old male, a 59-year-old female, a 74-year-old female, a 49-year-old male, a 61-year-old male, a 29-year old male, a 73-year-old male, and a patient under 18 years old.
The cases have not been tied to any particular location.
“This has just been community transmission and people being out and about,” Kentucky River District Health Director Scott Lockard said.
He said while he hopes he is wrong, he does expect to see additional cases in Letcher County in the coming days because of the continuation of the Isom Days festival. While the festival was held against health department recommendations, the crowds were down considerably from normal. Cars are usually parked on both shoulders of KY 15 for more than a half-mile, but no cars were seen parked on that road on Friday and few along Isom Drive. Pictures from the annual rodeo show nearly empty bleachers.
In surrounding counties, numbers continue to climb. Harlan County, with a population of about 26,000 people, now has more cases than Pike County, which has a population of about 58,000. As of Tuesday, the Pike County Health Department was reporting 353 cases and three deaths. The Harlan County Health Department was reporting 366 cases and 11 deaths.
Knott County is also seeing more cases with a cluster at Alice Lloyd College.The four-year college, which has about 600 students, reported 25 students and two staff members have tested positive for the viral disease as of August 31, up from a total of 10 the week before. At least some of those students are from Letcher County, though Lockard did not know an exact number.
Counties in the region are reporting the following cases: Knott – Total 96 (18 probable) (13 active, 82 recovered, 1 dead); Lee – Total 12 (1 probable) (3 active, 9 recovered); Leslie – Total 42 (2 probable) (3 active, 39 recovered); Letcher – Total 79 (18 probable) (12 active, 65 recovered, 2 dead); Owsley – Total 36 (10 probable) (13 active, 22 recovered, 1 dead); Perry – Total 298 (12 probable) (34 active, 256 recovered, 8 dead); Wolfe – Total 29 (2 probable) (9 active, 20 recovered); Harlan – Total 366 (11 dead); Pike – Total 353 (27 active, 323 recovered, 3 dead); Floyd – Total 155 (2 dead) ; Wise County, Va. – Total 364 (32 hospitalized, 5 dead); Norton, Va. – Total 33 (3 hospitalized).