Whitesburg KY

Third Covid-19 case has recovered, officials sayFree Access

A third person in Letcher County who tested positive for Covid-19 has already recovered, according to the Kentucky River District Health Department.
The case was originally reported late on May 1 as “probable.”
The Department released a statement on Friday saying a 51-year-old female tested positive for the virus in an IgM Antibody test, but had not had an RNA test to confirm the results.
District Health Director Scott Lockard said Monday that there are several different brands of antibody tests, which are intended to look for antibodies formed by a person’s immune system to combat infections, that were “allowed” but not “approved” by the Food and Drug Administration, the reliability of such tests is questionable. The process of reviewing the different brands of tests is underway now, and reliability is expected to increase over time.
“Some of them have shown as high as a 15-percent false negative,” Lockard said.
The woman who tested positive is now considered to be recovered because of the amount of time that passed from the time the test was performed until the results were returned.
The IgM test is a blood test that looks for first antibodies produced to fight off a new viral infection. The antibodies can remain after a person recovers and show that the person has previously had the virus. An RNA test is a nasal swab test in which scientists attempt to find viral genetic material mixed with human RNA, and shows whether a person currently has the virus.
Lockard said that not only are current antibody tests for Covid-19 not always reliable, there are few of either kind of test being offered in eastern Kentucky. Eight of the state’s 120 counties show no cases of Covid-19, and all of those are in the Appalachian region of the state, Lockard said. The eight with no reported cases are Robertson, Elliott, Harlan, Bell, Magoffin, Lee, Estill and Wolfe. Lockard said he believes the reason there are no reported cases of the viral disease in those counties is that there has been so little testing.
“I’ll be glad to see when we have free testing everywhere,” Lockard said.
Until that happens, Lockard said it concerns him that businesses are being allowed to reopen.
“We’re going to have to live with Covid-19 for a long time,” he said.

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