Vaccination billboard

The billboard at Paris and Cuba roads shares the information on vaccinations through the Graves County Health Department.

Graves County has seen more than 250 new COVID-19 cases since late May with the current total cases since last year at 4,060 and 101 deaths.

Those latest figures were released by the Graves County Health Department Monday for the past week of July 12-19. They include 41 new coronavirus cases in the past week, which is an 81% increase according to Kathy Gifford, health department nurse supervisor.

“We are not any different from the surrounding states with the increase of positive cases,” Graves County Health Director Noel Coplen said.

This comes as U.S. cases of COVID-19 increased by 17,000 nationwide over a 14-day period for the first time since late fall. An increase in death historically follows a spike in illness. That’s why health department officials again urged residents to consider COVID-19 vaccinations.

The health department is offering Pfizer vaccinations on Mondays by appointment or for walk-ins from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Johnson & Johnson vaccinations on Wednesdays for walk-ins from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Moderna vaccinations by appointment or for walk-ins from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Pfizer is approved for ages 12 and up.

Other vaccine locations listed on the Graves County Health Department website are Gibson’s Pharmacy, Duncan’s Pharmacy, Walgreens, Walmart and the VA office.

On May 24, 2021, the Graves County Health Department reported 22 new cases to set the local total at 3,826 with 90 deaths related to the coronavirus. The county had seen four weeks of numbers more than 30 and this past week an addition of 41 new cases.

On Sunday, the U.S. surgeon general said he’s concerned about what lies ahead with cases of COVID-19 increasing in every state, millions still unvaccinated and a highly contagious virus variant spreading rapidly.

“I am worried about what is to come because we are seeing increasing cases among the unvaccinated in particular,” Dr. Vivek Murthy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And while, if you are vaccinated, you are very well protected against hospitalization and death, unfortunately that is not true if you are not vaccinated.”

Much of the problem is driven by the delta variant. While U.S. case numbers and hospitalizations are still far below levels from the worst of the pandemic early this year, Murthy said the worsening situation shows the need to convince more people to get inoculations.

“It is our fastest, most effective way out of this pandemic,” he said.

According to an Associated Press article, approximately 186 million Americans have received at least one shot, but another 90 million eligible haven’t. Officials are trying to overcome a refusal among some to get vaccinated, but it’s unclear how to do that. So, for the meantime at least, some places have reverted to health precautions that had been cast aside.

In Las Vegas, some resorts and casinos are again requiring employees to wear masks in response to a recommendation issued by health officials amid rising COVID-19 case rates in Nevada. Los Angeles County reinstated rules requiring everyone to wear masks inside public buildings. But in Alabama, where COVID-19 hospitalizations have more than doubled in a month and only about a third of the population is fully vaccinated, officials have refused to re-institute statewide health rules or use gimmicks such as lotteries to boost immunizations.

“I think the best thing for us to do is just encourage everyone to use their common sense and practice personal responsibility and make themselves and their families safe,” Gov. Kay Ivey told reporters last week.

Cases also are on the rise in Springfield, Missouri, where Mayor Ken McClure told CBS-TV’s “Face the Nation” that false information about the pandemic was hampering the fight to get people vaccinated.

“I think we are seeing a lot spread through social media as people are talking about fears which they have, health-related fears, what it might do to them later on in their lives, what might be contained in the vaccinations,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden walked back his comments that social media giants are “killing people” by hosting misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines on their platforms. Biden said Monday that he hoped they would not take it “personally” and instead would act to save lives.

While companies like Facebook defend their practices and say they’re helping people around the world access verified information about the shots, the White House says they haven’t done enough to stop misinformation that has helped slow the pace of new vaccinations in the U.S. to a trickle.

Speaking at the White House, Biden insisted he meant “precisely what I said” when he said Friday of the tech giants that “they’re killing people.” But he said the point of his rhetoric was to ramp up pressure on the companies to take action.

“My hope is that Facebook, instead of taking it personally that somehow I’m saying ‘Facebook is killing people,’ that they would do something about the misinformation,” Biden said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.