Laurel County health official announce more than 8,000 COVID-19 cases, only 33% fully vaccinated

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Officials in Laurel County reported a massive increase in COVID-19 cases Monday.

Averaging around 42 cases a day, the surge started back in July with officials attributing this to the Delta variant.

Out of the county’s total population of 60-thousand people, only 33% are fully vaccinated. The total equaling 20-thousand people, with 64% of the fully vaccinated being above the age 65.

“There’s a good chance that it could be related to the Fourth of July weekend and those close gatherings,” Executive Director Mark Hensley said. “Especially those gatherings that take place inside.”

The county’s total is currently 8,500, a number that leaves Laurel County Resident Jeanne Baker worried.

“You got a 50/50 chance of catching it and if you get it there’s a three percent chance that you die,” Baker said. “There’s a 20% chance that you have long-term effects from it. So, right now the vaccines our best hope.”

Having received both her doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Baker hopes it becomes less political.

“We have to remember, President Trump was the creator of Operation Warp Speed, the distribution has been under President Biden,” Baker said. “So really, it’s not political anymore, anybody that’s making it that is out of the loop.”

Hensley said the rate of people being vaccinated has increased during the summer.

“In July and August, we are now vaccinating anywhere from 60 to 70 people per day in our clinic and with our mobile outreach team,” Hensley said.

Most of the new cases are in people 18 and under, that demographic is the least vaccinated in the county.

“I know when I was 18 I kind of felt like I was bulletproof but as you get older you realize that you’re not,” Baker said.

Hensley said there are many reasons as to why that is.

“If they do get the vaccine, it’s not going to affect them or if they do get the virus that it will not affect them like it would others,” Hensley said.

Hensley said they want those in the community who are still unsure, to do more research.

“To reach out to their physician, to get that professional advice and information they need,” Hensley said. “We also encourage people to call here at the health department and speak to one of our providers.”

Hensley says his department offers all three vaccine options.

You can walk in or schedule an appointment.

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