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Nursing home sees sharp increase in COVID-19 cases

SALYERSVILLE – Nearly all the local nursing home residents have now tested positive for the coronavirus, according to health department records.

SALYERSVILLE – Nearly all the local nursing home residents have now tested positive for the coronavirus, according to health department records.

To date, 603 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Magoffin County (113 up from last press day), with 89 of the cases still active (in isolation), 504 recovered, 10 hospitalized and six deaths.

More than 20 new cases were announced on the Friday after Thanksgiving, as well as on both Monday and Tuesday this week, indicating Magoffin is still seeing an increase in cases.

While Magoffin County remains in the red classification, along with all but six Kentucky counties, Magoffin County Public Health Director and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd urged the community to abide by the state health officials recommendations, asking people to avoid large gatherings, even though we are now in the holiday season.

“For the first time in my life, I didn’t have Thanksgiving dinner at Mom’s with all of our family, but it just wasn’t worth the risk,” Shepherd said.

As a reminder, for people who have had direct contact with a person who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, people are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date they had contact with the person and to consider getting tested after five days from contact or if symptoms arise.

Though the Magoffin County Health Department’s records indicate more new cases at the nursing home, data on the Salyersville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has been updated at the state level only once in the past two weeks, showing (according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ long-term care and other congregate facilities update from December 1) the nursing home has had 56 residents test positive and 30 staff to date. Of those, 12 residents and 6 staff have reportedly recovered, 39 residents and 24 staff are currently active, and 5 residents have died in relation to the COVID-19 virus.

In contrast, however, Salyersville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has reported to the Magoffin County Health Department that they have had 91 residents and 43 employees test positive for the virus. The last number the Independent has on file of total residents at the nursing home is 101 residents.

While the state announced this week we would be receiving fewer vaccines than originally thought, the local health department has a plan in place to distribute as many doses as they can to first responders and those at the nursing home whenever Magoffin receives their allocation of the vaccine.

“We’re not sure when we’ll get them and I’m sure there will be limited quantities, but we have our plan and staffing ready and information will be released once we know more,” Shepherd said.

He explained the first doses will be distributed to nursing homes, then frontline workers at hospitals, and then first responders. Vaccines will be distributed by priority to the general public in the following months after the first shipments.

Following state guidance, Magoffin County Schools have announced that they will remain closed to in-person classes until January 4. As this date approaches, the district will announce any plans for a return to in-person classes. A return to in-person classes is only possible if the county is not a red zone county, they noted in the announcement. Those with questions are asked to contact the schools their children attend.

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