SALYERSVILLE – As more and more of the state moves into the red classification for COVID-19 incidence rates, Magoffin is no exception, staying in the red for the third week in a row with 57 new cases since last week.
To date, 304 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Magoffin County, with 67 of the cases still active (in isolation), 237 recovered and five hospitalizations. Governor Andy Beshear’s numbers released on Wednesday afternoon stated that there was one death reported from Magoffin, a 75-year-old man, which is the first officially reported death from the county.
Tuesday night the Magoffin County Health Department posted the following on Facebook after reporting a total of 17 cases that day: “If you are a direct contact of a positive person and currently quarantined, please stay home for the duration of your quarantine. We are seeing many contacts testing positive. Staying home during your quarantine reduces the risk of transmission to others.”
Magoffin County Director of Public Health and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd said they are seeing a number of cases from Lion Apparel, in Wolfe County, with several employees working there, but living in Magoffin.
He also noted that of the 17 cases reported on Tuesday, four were residents and four were staff at the nursing home, where the virus continues to be a problem.
The Independent reached out to the nursing home this week, but at press time has not received a response.
Shepherd said he is included in the weekly call with the state and the nursing home and they have continued to tell the state they have adequate PPE and staffing, but that the state had been in the county checking Salyersville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for three days last week. He said questions had been raised concerning some of their procedures, include how they quarantine patients, the possible of contamination of patients by staff. He said the main finding included that staff were reportedly reusing disposable gowns for a week at a time, putting the gown in individual paper bags with their names on them at the end of each shift and reusing them for the week.
Shepherd also noted that the health department can only go by the information given to them, stating that he has not received any paperwork concerning any COVID-related deaths from the nursing home.
The state did contact Shepherd this week and tell him to get a plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines to first responders and residents and staff of the nursing home, potentially as early as next month. He said they are compiling numbers of those eligible and interested in the first round of vaccines and preparing a plan for a drive-thru vaccine event at the high school.
“We’re not sure when we’ll get them and I’m sure there will be limited quantities, but we will have our plan and staffing ready by December 1 and information will be released once we know more,” Shepherd said.
He said they were told a second round of prioritized vaccines will be scheduled one to two months from the first round.
“It’s a bad time right now and we’re seeing more and more cases now, so keep wearing your mask. Be careful and be smart,” Shepherd said.
While initially most of the cases Magoffin received early on were asymptomatic, Shepherd noted that the majority of the cases now do show symptoms of the virus.
Shepherd also reminded the public that if they come in contact with someone who tests positive with COVID-19 to wait five days (or until they have symptoms, if before) to get tested, explaining that being tested prior to that may result in a false negative.
Previously, Magoffin County Schools have announced that they will continue with virtual-only instruction until they are informed that the incidence rate is lower than the established critical threshold and parents are asked to contact their children’s schools with any questions regarding this time.
The Magoffin County School District is reporting cases involving students, broken down by schools, on their website on a daily basis, which can be found by visiting www.magoffin.kyschools.us and clicking on “COVID-19 CASES IN MAGOFFIN COUNTY SCHOOLS” under “District News.”
School officials will be going by the state map tracking the current incidence rate of each county. If a county climbs into the red category, they must cease all in-class instruction and cannot return to the classrooms until the county is back in the yellow category. The map is updated on Thursdays at 8 p.m. and school districts will decide how to proceed after that data is released for the following week, with any changes reported on the district’s Facebook page and through a One-Call.
As far as school continuing during the pandemic, Shepherd said the state is considering plans for the first of the year, including one that would allow reopening schools to 100% with no regulations on social distancing, but requiring masks, but nothing has been approved by the governor at press time and the final decision would still be up to the individual districts on how to proceed with the school year.