SALYERSVILLE – As the state sees record-breaking COVID-19 stats, the region’s hospitals are closer than ever to being at capacity.
The Magoffin County Health Department confirmed on Wednesday that there were 25 new COVID-19 cases from Magoffin County on Thursday, September 2, 15 on Friday, 8 on Saturday, 3 on Sunday, 21 on Tuesday, and 21 as of 3 p.m. on Wednesday, September 1. To date, 1,754 COVID-19 cases have been reported from Magoffin County, as well as a total of 26 COVID-related deaths, but that number is known to not include several deaths that have not been verified by death certificates.
In the last week, Magoffin County Public Health Director and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd confirmed there have been two new suspected COVID-19-related deaths from Magoffin, two from the previous week and two more from other counties but with Magoffin ties.
Currently, eight people from Magoffin County are hospitalized and three are on ventilators. Of the 21 cases reported on Wednesday, six of the patients were under 18 years old and three of the 21 cases were breakthrough cases, or of vaccinated patients. At last count, there are 103 active cases in Magoffin County.
School resumed this week, with Shepherd saying none of the cases reported Wednesday have been tied to school, with officials expecting any potential spikes from school re-opening not showing up until early next week.
School officials told Mortimer Media Group on Wednesday they are continuing to monitor the daily COVID-19 numbers and will work with the local health department to determine any further action. The state legislature is meeting currently and is expected to make some decisions regarding NTI days, mask mandates and other school-related issues.
The Magoffin County Health Department has started to offer booster Moderna vaccines for the immunocompromised. To qualify for a booster vaccine, people must fall into one of the following categories (from MCHD):
*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.
Magoffin County Public Health Director and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd told the Independent it’s looking like everyone else not in the first category will need to get their booster around eight months after their second shot and they will need to get the same brand as their first one (Moderna or Pfizer).
This week the health department gave out 15 first doses of the vaccine this week, markedly down from last week. He said currently 6,319 people have been vaccinated in Magoffin County, not counting Walgreens. and they are still scheduling vaccine appointments for next Wednesday, September 8, from 8 to 11 a.m.
So far, Shepherd said they are seeing roughly one breakthrough (vaccinated) case for every 10 positive cases, on average, showing the vaccines are working.
Shepherd cited state numbers from Tuesday, noting 2,353 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, 661 in ICU and 433 on a ventilator in Kentucky as of September 7, compared to previous record from December of 1,817 hospitalized, 460 in ICU and 254.
“It’s a lot worse and it’s something people need to take note of,” Shepherd.
In Region 8, containing Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Wolfe counties, in-patient beds are at 59.4% capacity, ICU beds are 91.7% filled up and ventilators are at 55.9% capacity. Shepherd noted that those numbers are skewed, since they reflect actual beds, but not the number of staffed beds, which are much closer if not already over capacity in most hospitals.
Shepherd also noted that pre-Delta numbers indicated 74% of COVID-19 deaths were from people 70 years old and older, but now that population only accounts for half of the COVID-related deaths. Pre-Delta the age group of 30 to 49-year-olds accounted for only 2% of COVID deaths, but now they make up 13% of the deaths.
Shepherd urged everyone to get vaccinated and wear their masks.
“We need to go back to the guidelines we had early on in all of this,” Shepherd said. “Don’t be in large groups, wash your hands and wear a mask, even if you’re vaccinated.”