Laurel Co. Health Department seeing steady rise of COVID-19 cases

Kentucky

Cases are up in southern Kentucky, hospitals are full, and educators say they are working to keep kids in school despite the ongoing health issues.

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – Cases are up in southern Kentucky, hospitals are full, and educators say they are working to keep kids in school despite the ongoing health issues. Health leaders say vaccine numbers are improving, but there’s still a long way to go.

Judy Fitzgerald was once concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine for her spiritual reasons, but she’s getting it now.

“And maybe if we get our shots we can encourage others who are leery about it to get their shots,” Judy Fitzgerald said.

She’s one of about 50 or 60 per day getting shots, a big jump from the 10-a-day average last spring. Health department director Mark Hensley said many are recognizing the seriousness of the current situation.

“This week alone we have averaged over 100 cases per day. About 30% of those are school age children,” Hensley said.

On Thursday, Senator Rand Paul spoke with 15 public school superintendents about their concerns. The overwhelming majority of them came away from that meeting saying they need to do everything they can to make sure kids stay in the classroom.

“As I told them I am not here to tell them what to do. That’s their job to figure this out,” Paul said.

But Paul said he agrees children need to stay in school and says he disagrees with some of the quarantines.

“I don’t like the idea of sending all these kids home under quarantine if they already had the disease. So if you already had the disease the goal should be to keep them in school,” Paul said.

Paul said he believes many of these kids have a natural immunity and said more effort needs to be focused on helping older people in their treatment. School leaders say it’s all very challenging.

“There’s a lot of concerns and the numbers vary by county as these waves sweep through but I think we all agree that the best environment for student education is in person,” said Doug Bennett with Laurel County Schools.

The Laurel County Health Department director said Thursday alone, they had 151 cases, which is their highest case total to date. They said 49 of those were children ages 5-18.

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