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Cases top 50 for Magoffin

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SALYERSVILLE – COVID-19 cases seem to be still escalating in the area, with another 16 reported in Magoffin County since last week’s paper printed.

At press time, four people from Magoffin County are hospitalized in the COVID-19 unit at Pikeville Medical Center, 51 people in total have tested positive, 26 are in isolation and 25 have recovered. To date, 1,452 tests have been conducted locally, with 1,376 negative and 25 pending.

Magoffin County Public Health Director and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd explained the cases to the Independent, noting that three of the 16 cases this week were tied to a funeral, two linked to a positive case in Breathitt County, one to a church in Johnson County (fourth case to date from Magoffin linked to that church, and many of the cases being linked to the prison guards who had tested positive.

“At this point and with this being such a small community, most of the cases overlap,” Shepherd said. 

Up until now, none of the cases had directly affected a public-facing business in Magoffin, but the Magoffin County Health Department issued a notification on Tuesday, stating that the Elk Creek BP would be closed through the rest of this week, with the owners voluntarily choosing to close the business for cleaning and sterilization. They also released that individuals who had visited the BP on Elk Creek on Friday, August 7 through Tuesday, August 11 could be at low risk of exposure to COVID-19,  asking that they consider testing, self-quarantining, and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

“They chose to do this voluntarily, and the risk of transmission is low, but this will be the protocol if employees in businesses that serve customers get the virus,” Shepherd said. “We will ask them to close and clean to reduce the spread, as well as let the public know to watch for symptoms, test if they want to and to stay out of the public as much as possible.”

Shepherd said the health department will be issuing two warnings to businesses in the county for not following the governor’s mask mandate. 

Per Governor Andy Beshear’s mandate, any person who is found violating the mandate is to receive a warning for the first offense, a fine of $50 for the second offense, $75 for the third offense, and $100 for each subsequent offense.

Businesses are to deny access or services to people not complying to the regulations. Owners, operators, or employers of a business or other public-facing entity is subject to the same fines listed above, but may also be subject to an order requiring immediate closure.

“We’ve taken packets to every store in the county, explaining how to wear a mask and clean properly, along with a copy of the mandate and the fines, so they all know,” Shepherd said. “Every case we have right now comes down to not wearing a mask or not social distancing. We know it works and if everyone would just do it, we would be in good shape.”

Shepherd also reminded the public to obey the quarantine if they are asked, to wear a mask in public and to social distance.

“It’s at the point now that if one core group had followed the recommendations, we wouldn’t be seeing the escalation we’re seeing,” Shepherd said.

Pikeville Medical Center now has a COVID-19 test with a 15-minute turnaround for results and Shepherd said Frontier Medical is working to get the 15-minute tests, as well. Right now, he said he recommends Frontier Medical and Hope Family Medical Center for COVID-19 tests available locally, but noted that the current turnaround time is two days at both locations. Call ahead to schedule a test and/or for more information on the testing protocols for each place.
 

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Heather Oney

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