The number of positive tests for COVID-19 in Letcher County has risen to at least 48, up from 40 a week ago, according to figures from Kentucky River District Health Department.
The increase is less than last week, when 12 new cases were reported. The speed of increase is also slowing statewide, something Gov. Andy Beshear attributed to the implementation of a mask mandate statewide.
The number of new cases statewide on Monday was 323, down from 522 the Monday before and from a record 979 on July 19. On Tuesday, the number of cases was up to 700 again, compared to 532 a week before. The total for the two days is 31 higher than last week.
“Today, while we have a higher number than we had this time last week, if you look at Monday and Tuesday, its just barely higher,” Beshear said Tuesday.
However, Beshear said there is reason to be hopeful that the state is again gaining control of the spread of the virus. Beshear said during a news conference on Monday that the curve of the increase is flattening, showing the spread of the disease is slowing. “The data is telling us that facial coverings are working,” he said.
The mask mandate went into effect July 10. Bars were closed and restaurants reduced to 25-percent capacity last Tuesday, but Beshear said there has not been enough time to evaluate whether those measures are working.
Meanwhile, numbers have continued to soar is some counties. Harlan County now stands at 240 cases, surpassing the latest numbers available for Pike County. On the state’s web page, Pike County had 223 cases last Wednesday, the last day the Pike County Health Department posted numbers on its Facebook page.
Cases in the past week in Letcher County include a person under 18 years old (Tuesday); a 25-year-old male, a 53-year-old female and a 55-year-old male (Monday); a 27-year-old male (Friday, July 31); a 33-year-old male, a 51-year-old male and a 92-year-old female (Thursday); and no cases last Wednesday, July 29.
The latest regional numbers as reported by the Kentucky
River District Health Department are: Knott- 45 (33 recovered, 6 probable, 1 dead); Lee- 3 (3 recovered); Leslie- 28 (19 recovered); Letcher- 48 (37 recovered, 9 probable); Owsley- 10 (7 recovered); Perry- 189 (154 recovered, 3 probable, 3 dead); Wolfe- 10 (9 recovered).
Probable cases are those who tested positive with an antibody test, which shows someone has had the virus, but not whether they still have it.
The state of Virginia is now reporting totals for Wise County and Norton as the following: Wise County – 102 (15 hospitalized, 3 dead); Norton – 14 (2 hospitalized).