Graves County is no longer considered a red zone, local health department officials stated on Wednesday.
Director Noel Coplen said the continual decline of COVID-19 cases over the past five weeks has dropped Graves’ daily average significantly, pushing it into orange status. He speculated that a combination of social distancing, masks and vaccinations have played a part in the decline; however he felt more needed to be vaccinated.
“Clearly, (we) don’t have the number of vaccines that we need by no means, but having even a small percentage of the population vaccinated certainly helps,” Coplen said.
According to www.kycovid19.ky.gov, on Wednesday, Graves’ daily average of COVID-19 cases was 23.4 per 100,000, putting it under the 25 threshold for being classified a red zone. The average is based on the previous seven days.
As a orange zone, Graves sees between 10 and 25 average daily cases. The next levels down are yellow — one to 10 — and green, which is less than one average daily case per 100,000. As of Wednesday, there were no green zone counties in Kentucky.
Coplen said that for Graves to stay out of the red, residents need to remain vigilant, which echoed Gov. Andy Beshear’s Wednesday press release.
While most of Kentucky’s counties had crossed into orange, or even yellow status, Beshear still felt it’s “too early to relax precautions.”
“We have made incredible strides against this evil virus, but we can’t let up yet,” Beshear said. “Even Kentuckians who have been vaccinated should continue to mask up, social distance and keep any gatherings small. Team Kentucky, we are so close to getting through this together, but we must remain vigilant and run through the finish line to slow the spread and save as many lives as possible.”
The Graves County Health Department has continued to receive 100 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine every week. Though Coplen felt every little bit helps, it’s not enough to curb the approximate 2,500 seniors — aged 70 or older — who are still waiting. He encouraged residents to put their names on any list they can, whether it be at the local health department or elsewhere.
“That group has been the most detrimentally affected by COVID-19. That’s our focus, that’s our mission to get them vaccinated — any of them that want it — in order to help keep them out of the hospital,” Coplen said.
Residents should note, however, that they must return to that same facility for the important second dose.
Though the vaccine remains in short supply, Coplen was relieved to know nearby facilities and pharmacies might soon start administering it. However, some pharmacies are experiencing difficulties as their suppliers are not allowed to carry the vaccine yet.
Stone’s Health Mart Pharmacy owner David Whaley said that since his supplier is not AmerisourceBergen, which encompasses much of Mayfield’s pharmacies, he doesn’t know when his facility would receive the vaccine, even though the pharmacy has already been approved to carry and administer it.
The issue has created confusion among his clientele who see other pharmacies getting the vaccine but not Stone’s, which Whaley felt makes his facility look bad.
“It’s not that they’re (pharmacies) special, they just got the luck of the draw with AmerisourceBergen,” Whaley said.
He stressed, however, that his facility has already been approved to receive and administer the vaccine, but it’s just a question of when.
The local health department announced only six new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, making the county’s total cases 3,531 since March 2020.