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COVID cases drop here, but up in area counties

The incidence of new COVID-19 cases remained relatively low in Letcher County, with only one case reported on Monday, and 13 since last week.

New cases were not reported on Tuesday because Election Day is a state holiday.

The new total in Letcher County on Monday was 310, with 152 active.

Those numbers are considerably lower than the figure on the state web site. That lists the total number here at 330, however it was not clear whether duplicates had been removed from the state numbers, or whether the numbers were updated on the state web site on Tuesday.

While new cases in Letcher County are becoming fewer, cases in surrounding counties continue to rise at alarming rates. Every county bordering Letcher is in the red on a state map showing the incidence of the virus, meaning those counties have an incidence rate of more than 25 per 100,000. The state currently lists Letcher County’s rate at 18.6, up from just over 12 last week.

New cases in Letcher this week included a 28-year-old female, a 22-year-old female, a 38-year-old male, a 47-year-old male, and a 48-year-old-female (total five) on last Wednesday; a pediatric case under the age of 18, a 28-year-old male and a 40-year old male (total three) on Thursday; a 21-year-old female, a 34-year-old male, a 61-year-old male, and a 69 year-old female on Friday; and a 29-year-old female (total one) on Monday.

In tiny Lee County, with a population of just 7,403, cases exploded in a nursing home last month, and that county is continuing to see large numbers of new cases, with 30 on Monday alone.

Seven people have died in Lee County from the disease. A week ago, the health department reported 120 cases from the nursing home alone.

In-person school was to start today (Wednesday) in Letcher County. Whether to continue having school depends on the incidence rate each Thursday. If that number goes above 25, the school must close. The rate is based on the average number of cases over the previous seven days.

The incident rate in Perry, Knott and Pike counties is above 37, and the incident rate in Harlan County is 26.9.

Totals for Letcher and the surrounding counties are: Knott – Total 364 (41 probable) (189 active, 170 recovered, 5 dead); Letcher – Total 310 (94 probable) (152 active, 156 recovered, 2 dead); Perry – Total 557 (34 probable) (189 active, 359 recovered, 9 dead); Pike – Total 1,075 (273 active, 797 recovered, 5 dead); Harlan – Total 649; Wise County, Va. – Total 734 (47 hospitalized, 10 dead); Norton, Va. – Total 54 (5 hospitalized).

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