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Booster shots announced, county still in the red

SALYERSVILLE – While cases are not climbing quite as fast as they were last week, Magoffin remains in the red for COVID-19 cases as the local health department announces booster vaccines will be available soon for those most at-risk.

The Magoffin County Health Department confirmed on Wednesday that there were 24 new COVID-19 cases from Magoffin County on Thursday, August 19, 11 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday, 13 on Monday and 23 on Tuesday, and 22 on Wednesday, August 25. Last Wednesday, August 18 Magoffin had the highest number of cases to date, with 40 cases reported that day. A total of 26 COVID-related deaths have been reported from Magoffin, but that number is known to not include several deaths that have not been verified by death certificates.

Currently, nine people from Magoffin County are hospitalized and one is on a ventilator. Of the 23 cases reported on Wednesday, six of the patients were under 18 years old and one of the cases is a breakthrough case (vaccinated).

At press time Magoffin County Schools is set to start back on Monday, August 30 with both virtual and in-person classes after being out for two weeks due to a high volume of students and staff affected by quarantines. The school district has opened up the decision for in-person or virtual for parents following the recent spike in cases, though that deadline had already passed.

The current policy on quarantining concerning the school district was posted on social media earlier this month, with the following:

For students and staff of Magoffin County Schools who have been ordered by the local Department of Health to quarantine because of exposure to a person who has tested positive for COVID, it is assumed the exposed person will be quarantined for 10 days. In this case, the exposed person may return the eleventh day after being exposed if the person has remained free of symptoms.

For students and staff of Magoffin County Schools who have been ordered by the local Department of Health to quarantine because of exposure to a person who has tested positive for COVID and would like to return as soon as possible, the person being exposed to a positive case of COVID may test for COVID on or after the fifth day of exposure. If evidence of a negative test is received and validated by the district, the exposed person may return the eighth day after being exposed if the person has remained free of symptoms.

If a person has been in contact with a positive case of COVID and symptoms of COVID are present at any time, testing for COVID is recommended.

The Magoffin County Health Department posted that they will start offering booster Moderna vaccines for the immunocompromised, stating the following:

The Magoffin County Health Department will begin offering Moderna booster vaccines for immunocompromised individuals, 18 and older with any of the following;

*Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood

*Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

*Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

*Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)

*Advanced or untreated HIV infection

*Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

Please call, 349-6212 to make your appointment.

Though many people are still waiting for more information regarding the vaccines before having their children receive the shot, Magoffin County Public Health Director and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd said he would absolutely choose to vaccinate.

“This Delta variant is so much more contagious,” Shepherd said. “With the first time around, people who had tested positive could isolate themselves at home away from the rest of their family and no one else in the home would get it. With this variant, if one person in the home gets it, they all get it. It requires very little contact.”

Shepherd said the main thing to do now is for people to start wearing their masks, again, as an added precaution of spreading or catching the virus while out in public. With the first round of the virus, there were very little risks of catching it in passing at the grocery store, but the Delta variant is estimated at 1,000 more times contagious.

“Wear your mask, wash your hands and try to not be in large crowds,” Shepherd said.

The biggest protection at our disposal is still the vaccines, which is what Shepherd attributed to why the older population – which has the highest vaccination rates – are not being hit as hard with this second round of the virus as their younger unvaccinated neighbors and relatives, but he said he has seen a sharp uptick of people signing up to get their shot.

To schedule a vaccine, you can call the health department at 606-349-6212. Also available in this region, people can still call or go online to get on the vaccine list at any of the following providers: Walgreens, multiple Big Sandy Healthcare locations, Paul B. Hall Medical Center, Highlands ARH, Pikeville Medical Center, Kings Daughters in Ashland, ARH West Liberty and Saint Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead.

As with any vaccination, the COVID-19 vaccines are not 100% effective at keeping you from getting the virus, with recent studies indicating the Moderna vaccine is 75% effective, and the Pfizer is 43% effective against the current variant. However, the vaccines greatly decrease the chances of you catching it and, much like the flu shot, if you get the virus after being fully vaccinated you are much less likely to have severe symptoms.

“With this Delta variant, this virus can stay in the back of your throat for two days before you have any symptoms if you have had the vaccine,” Shepherd explained. “If you’re not vaccinated, you can keep it for weeks.”

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