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MCHD distributes vaccines as cases increase

SALYERSVILLE – Mirroring statewide numbers, Magoffin County’s incidence rate of COVID-19 is up, again, putting school re-opening plans in jeopardy.

Last week Magoffin County Schools announced that students would start back on January 19 using the same hybrid plan they used in September, though the county was still in the orange category at the time. Since then, all of the state except for one county has dipped back into the red category, leaving officials to reevaluate their plans.

While recommendations are in place at the state level, the decision to return to in-person classes is up to the individual school districts.

At press time no decision has been made, but Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Scott Helton told Mortimer Media Group that he is meeting with school personnel and health department officials and a decision will be made about school next week on Thursday.

To date, 818 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Magoffin County, with 42 people in isolation and one hospitalized at press time on January 13.

Magoffin County Pubic Health Director and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd said the information the health department is receiving from the state changes daily, but right now they are told to put in an order for the second doses of the vaccine for next week’s shipment, though they’ve been told to be prepared for those plans to change.

The health department received 100 doses of the vaccine on Monday and on Tuesday they started vaccinating school employees. To date, 400 doses of the vaccine has been distributed in Magoffin County, with 40 of those doses going to school employees.

Shepherd said they plan to have all of the school employees inoculated with the first dose within the next two weeks, unless something else changes at the state level.

The health department is managing a waitlist for the vaccine, encouraging everyone in the community 70 years old or older to call 606-349-5212 to be added to the list. He noted that currently there are more than 600 people on the waitlist, so he asked the public to not call to check their place on the list.

“If you’re on the list, we will get to you, but it might be a few weeks, but please don’t call to find out where you are on the list,” Shepherd said. “It will tie up the phone lines and we can’t answer the people who need help now.”

Shepherd also noted that they have installed a new phone line at the health department to handle the extra calls.

After the tier 1A people are vaccinated, including the healthcare workers, first responders and people over 70 years old, Shepherd said they are told they will be opening up the waitlist to everyone 18 and older, with no other prioritization.

Salyersville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is scheduled to receive their shipment of vaccines on January 17.

Shepherd also reminded the public that have had the virus that the antibodies within their immune systems will only protect people for 90 days, and that people are encouraged to get the vaccine even if they have had COVID-19.

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