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Virus hits 38 patients at local nursing home

Nursing home did well to keep COVID away for as long as it did, official says

At least 38 cases of COVID-19 have now been identified in Letcher Manor Nursing Home, making it one of the last long-term care facilities in the area to experience an outbreak of the virus.

According to the Kentucky River District Health Department, as of Monday evening, 21 residents and 17 staff members had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Nursing homes in Lee County, Owsley County, and Knott County, have already had outbreaks of the virus. A nursing home in Hazard is in the middle of an outbreak now, Kentucky River District Director of Public Health Scott Lockard said.

Across the state line in Big Stone Gap, Va., about an hour from Whitesburg, a nursing home is experiencing the largest nursing home outbreak in Virginia, WJHL in Johnson City, Tenn., reported last week. At that time, the Heritage Hall nursing home had 219 positive cases and 33 deaths.

Lockard said there had not been any patient cases at the Whitesburg nursing home until now.

“ Letcher Manor was probably the last one to have COVID in their facility,” Lockard said. “They’ve done a good job up there and been very protective, but it finally made it in.”

Health officials are racing the virus to bring vaccines to healthcare workers and long-term care patients before the virus becomes even more widespread. Jails are also a concern, but so far the Letcher County Jail has had only one case among prisoners and one among guards.

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