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COVID surge continues here

Shipments of Covid-19 vaccine have begun arriving in counties in the Kentucky River Health District and Letcher County should begin receiving its first allocation next week, health officials said.

The vaccine will be given to healthcare workers and nursing home patients first before being offered to others.

The vaccine is set to arrive too late for some, with a surge of cases expected as a result of Christmas get-togethers. Letcher County is already seeing a surge with 42 new cases on Tuesday.

The Kentucky River District Health Department has lost its epidemiologist and is transitioning to the numbers provided by the state, so numbers between last week’s figures and this week – or even between this Monday and Tuesday — cannot be compared using the old district statistics.

The new figures used by the state show 902 total cases in Letcher County, including 42 new cases.

According to state figures, the county now has 916 positive cases of Covid-19. There is often a discrepancy between state and district figures, but that disparity should disappear with both the state and the district using the same figures. Cases in congregate housing – nursing homes, prisons and jails – in particular had been late arriving at the district.

State figures now show there are 62 active cases among patients at Letcher Manor, nine recovered and one dead. It shows 29 active cases among the staff there with 20 recovered.

Health officials nationally and statewide are asking people not to hold large gatherings over Christmas, to avoid crowds and wear their masks.

Total cases for Letcher and the surrounding counties as of Tuesday, according to the district’s new numbers, were as follows:

Letcher – Total 902 (42 new, 3 dead, 112.7 incident rate)

Knott – Total 700 (12 new, 12 dead, 42.5 incident rate)

Perry – Total 1,450 (10 new, 11 dead, 56.0 incident rate)

Pike – Total 2,712 (761 active, 1,918 recovered, 33 dead)

Harlan – Total 1,373 (16 dead)

Wise Co., VA – Total 1,756 (93 hospitalized, 53 dead)

Norton, VA – Total 138 (8 hospitalized, 1 dead)

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