Pike County Health Department is reporting an ongoing spike in COVID-19 active cases and hospitalizations and is coordinating with the community to develop a COVID-19 vaccination plan, as of presstime Nov. 16.

As of presstime Nov. 16, the county’s total number of cases was 1,448, with 471 of those being active cases, and 962 people were considered recovered. 15 Pike County residents have died from the virus so far, which was an increase of one new death since presstime Nov. 12. Of the 15 deaths, 11 have been confirmed by the state, and four are waiting to be confirmed by the state’s review committee.

As of Nov. 16, there were 73 admitted COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Pike County, with 47 of those patients being Pike County residents. The ICU occupancy for Pike County was at 84 percent. The county has seen a 35 percent increase in cases for the past two weeks and nearly doubled its number of total cases since Oct. 18, 2020.

Pike County Public Health Director Tammy Riley said that PCHD is still seeing more active cases being reported through community spread, though there are some still being reported in long-term care facilities.

“We are still experiencing long-term care facility outbreaks, although our new case load is coming from more general community now and less from the long-term care facilities,” Riley said. “I am working with large retail and businesses and encouraging them to assist us with managing the customer base and mask compliance. We’re also encouraging the general public to prioritize where they shop and visit and prioritize businesses that make them feel safe.”

However, Riley said that she is working with the PCHD’s Coronavirus Task Force, local healthcare providers and local hospitals to coordinate and develop a COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. She said that it is possible that the first limited phase of a COVID-19 vaccination could be on the horizon late this year or early next year.

“The health department is working with the community on our upcoming COVID-19 vaccination plan,” Riley said. “We’re working with our task force, with local providers and with hospitals for the implementation of our COVID-19 vaccination plan. When we get to the point where the vaccine will be widely available for the entire community, we will need local providers to assist with the vaccination plan.”

Symptoms and testing

Symptoms for COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea.

According to the state’s official COVID-19 website, testing in Pike County can be found at:

• Shelby Valley Clinic (178 Douglas Parkway, Pikeville)

• Pikeville Community Health Center (50 Weddington Branch Road, Pikeville)

• Pikeville Medical Center (231 Hibbard Street, Pikeville)

• East Kentucky After Hours Clinic (255 Church Street, Suite 102B, Pikeville)

• Ramey Family Practice (10363 Regina Belcher Hwy, Elkhorn City)

• HomePlace Clinic (118 River Drive, Pikeville)

• HomePlace Clinic (26229 U.S. Hwy 119 North, Belfry)

• First Care Clinic (115 Lee Avenue, Suite 1, Pikeville)

Contact each location for specific hours and appointment scheduling.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of the reported symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

Anyone of any age can contract the virus. However, older adults and people who are immunocompromised or who have severe underlying medical conditions — including cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, COPD, obesity, asthma, hypertension or high blood pressure, sickle cell disease, chronic kidney disease and liver disease — have a higher risk of developing more serious complications from COVID-19.

According to the CDC, the primary ways to protect against contracting or spreading the virus is to do frequent hand washing, maintain social distancing (keeping six feet apart from others) and wearing a face mask or facial covering when around others.

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