The Graves County Health Department staff is continuing to serve the local communities despite surging coronavirus cases, an official said.

Director Noel Coplen said that workers at the local health department had worked hard since March to ensure the facility continues to operate and offer its services to residents.

“(Staff has) been under the gun ever since March. The staff has really been through a lot, but also has really adapted well and learned how to do things a lot more effectively and efficiently,” Coplen said.

He also expressed his gratitude to residents choosing to help fight the virus by continuing to wear masks and socially distance.

The health department announced 46 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and 29 more on Thursday, pushing the county’s total seen since March to 1,908. Out of the total, 230 are isolated in their respective homes and 39 are hospitalized.

Fifty-three Graves County residents have died as a result of the virus since March; 11 of which occurred within the last two weeks.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced a 101-year-old woman from Graves County was among the 34 newest deaths in Kentucky. He added that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday had seen the highest death rates since the pandemic first appeared in the state.

He also said Thursday was the second highest day for the state with 3,895 new COVID-19 cases.

On a more optimistic note, Beshear also announced that Mercy Health — Lourdes in Paducah was among the 11 sites in Kentucky to receive the first round of vaccines. They are expecting to receive 975, and will go to health care workers that need it most.

He noted that the vaccines would be shipped as soon as the Federal Drug Administration authorizes their emergency use, which could be as soon as Dec. 14.