Health departments in southeastern Kentucky becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 4:16 PM EDT
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LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The increased cases of COVID-19 along with the increased need for people to be vaccinated is creating more work for people who work at local health departments.

“Yesterday we had our highest one-day count since the onset of the pandemic. We had 137 cases,” said Mark Hensley with the Laurel County Health Department.

And each case means a greater amount of workload for their staff.

“In all honesty, our workers at the local level are overwhelmed,” said Christy Green with the Cumberland Valley District Health Department.

In 2020, health departments were busy with testing, then contact tracing and finding others who had contact with people who tested positive. But because of the increased cases and vaccinations, health leaders say they have little time for contact tracing anymore.

“We are doing the disease investigations for those who test positive. We tell them to contact all their close contacts,” Hensley said.

But it’s not all bad news.

“We are probably vaccinating 50 to 60 per day in our clinic,” Hensley said.

Directors say more people testing positive is leading others to want to get vaccinated.

Laurel County reported more than 500 new cases last week. Clay County reported just under 300.

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