Whitesburg KY
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State’s COVID-19 cases down, but hold on here

COVID-19 cases are declining across Kentucky, but are continuing to hang on stubbornly in Letcher and nearby counties along the Virginia and West Virginia borders.

The number of cases are also high in a string of counties along KY 15 and the Mountain Parkway.

The latest statistics from the State of Kentucky show Letcher County with a seven day average incidence rate of 56.3 per 100,000, nearly double the sevenday average last Tuesday. State figures show the total number of cases that have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic stood at 3,860 on Tuesday, up from 3,769 a week earlier. This week’s number accounts for 18 percent of the county population.

The official death toll is still at 65, the same as last week.

Less than half the total population of Letcher County is fully vaccinated, though 53.1 percent have had at least one dose. The number of adults who are fully vaccinated is increasing here. As of Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that 10,794 adults in Letcher County, 64 percent, have had at least one shot and 58.8 percent are fully vaccinated.

In age group 65 and over, 72.8 percent are fully vaccinated and 75.9 have had at least one shot.

Overall, out of a population of 21,553 in the county, 11,473 have had at least one shot.

The CDC has not changed its definition of fully vaccinated. While booster shots are being given, “fully vaccinated” still means those who have had at least two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or one shot of the Johnson and Johnson. Experts are recommending persons who got the J&J shot get a booster as soon as possible. Boosters of the other vaccines are recommended for the same high-risk groups as the first shots.

The Food and Drug Administration is also expected to approve at least one of the vaccines for children ages 5 to 12 within the next week. A key panel of advisors to the FDA on Tuesday recommended giving those children one-third the dosage of Pfizer vaccine that is given to those 12 and over. They could begin receiving the vaccine by next Friday.

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