Healthcare officials with the Kentucky River District Health Department announced that several new positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the area last week and this week, bringing Perry County's total cases to nearly 150.

Last Thursday, July 16, KRDHD health officials reported 13 confirmed cases in their service area. These cases included a 43-year-old male and a 38-year-old female from Lee County; one case under 18 years of age in Letcher County; a 35-year-old female from Owsley County; and a 25-year-old male, a 61-year-old male, a 28-year-old male, a 54-year-old female, a 79-year-old male, a 48-year-old female, a 20-year-old female, a case under 18 years of age and a pediatric case in Perry County. KRDHD also reported 31 recoveries that day.

On Friday, July 17, 11 cases were reported in the KRDHD service area, including a 61-year-old male in Letcher County, a 46-year-old female in Wolfe County and nine cases in Perry County. The Perry County cases from Friday included two individuals under the age of 18, a 22-year-old female, a 42-year-old female, a 45-year-old male, a 47-year-old male, a 63-year-old male, a 73-year-old female and a 91-year old-female.

As of Monday, July 20, KRDHD said there were 23 new confirmed positive cases in their service area from over the weekend, with 15 of them being in Perry County. The cases confirmed in Perry County over the weekend included four individuals under the age of 18, an 18-year-old male, a 19-year-old male, a 29-year-old female, a 30-year-old male, a 39-year-old female, a 48-year-old male, a 57-year-old female, a 60-year-old female, a 68-year-old male, a 74-year-old female and an 84-year-old female. Other cases confirmed in the KRDHD service area include a 48-year-old female from Owsley County; a pediatric case in Leslie County; a pediatric case and a 45-year-old male in Knott County; and a 42-year-old male, a 64-year-old female, a 65-year-old male and a 67-year-old female in Letcher County.

KRDHD announced six new confirmed positive COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, July 21. These cases included one pediatric case under the age of 18 in Letcher County; one pediatric case under the age of 18 and a 37-year-old male in Knott County; and one pediatric case under the age of 18, a 30-year-old female and a 42-year-old female in Perry County. KRDHD said there were 43 recovered cases on Tuesday.

The newly-confirmed cases bring the KRDHD total to 231 cases, with 225 confirmed, six probable, 167 recovered and two deceased. To date, there have been 144 positive cases in Perry County, with one probable case and two COVID-19 related deaths. There have been 98 recoveries in Perry County.

All of the newly-confirmed Perry County cases are self-quarantined at home, said KRDHD Public Health Director Scott Lockard. Additionally, he said, 38 of the positive cases in Perry County are related to the Hazard High School athletic department. Some of the cases confirmed over the weekend, said KRDHD officials, were employees in places dealing with a lot of public contact.

Last Friday, KRDHD said five employees of the Tim Short Chrysler Automotive Dealership in Hazard tested positive for COVID-19. If anyone has visited the dealership between June 22-July 17, they may have been exposed. Additionally, KRDHD announced that an employee of the Whitesburg Food City Deli tested positive, and anyone who visited the store's deli between July 15-17 could have been exposed. KRDHD recommends for people to monitor for symptoms and contact healthcare officials if needed.

“We appreciate the management of Tim Short Chrysler for being so cooperative and working with us at KRDHD to help contain the spread of the virus. The dealership is following all recommendations that have been made,” said Lockard.

He said that the risk of exposure to anyone who visited the Food City store is low.

“This stresses the importance of wearing masks and frequently washing hands any time you are in a public setting,” he said. “We wish this individual a speedy recovery.”

Lockard said it is recommended that residents maintain their practice of social distancing, wear face coverings when in public and to follow all other safety guidelines.

“We have to be mindful,” said Lockard. “If we have universal masking, we're going to get through this so much quicker and it's going to really slow the spread of the virus.”

Testing, he said, is still available at several local healthcare clinics.

“Testing seems to be really good,” said Lockard, stating that many places in Perry County offer COVID-19 testing. “I have had reports of a shortage of testing media from other places. Thankfully, I'm not hearing any of those reports in Perry County.

“It's all just a work in progress right now, but there's a lot of good work going on to try to protect the citizens,” said Lockard.

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