While the number of new COVID-19 cases contracted this week is lower compared to last week’s, positive cases continue at a high level, prompting the Christian County Health Department to reimplement free drive-through COVID testing, according to CCHD in its weekly report.

According to the health department, the total cases for the county have moved to 9,233 as of Friday. The county has seen an increase of cases by 314 since last week, on Aug. 27. The previous week saw an increase of 468 between Aug. 27 and Sept. 2.

Of the 9,233 total cases, 625 of them are currently active cases, down from 647 since last week. Meanwhile, 8,494 cases have recovered from the virus.

Within the currently active cases, 252 are people aged zero to 21, 309 are between 22 and 59 and 60 are 60 to 84. There are only four active cases for ages 85 and older. The death toll for the county still sits at 114, the same as last week.

Of the 314 new cases this week, 19, or 6.1%, are considered breakthrough cases. Breakthrough cases mean that individuals who have been vaccinated have tested positive for the coronavirus. Last week breakthrough cases consisted of 5.3% of active cases.

The demographic breakdown of the new cases contracted this week is as follows: 97, or 30%, are pediatric cases, while 156 (49.7%) of the new cases are caucasians, 64 (20.4%) are African American, 14 (4.5%) are other and 80 (25.4%) are unknown.

Jennie Stuart Health also released its COVID-19 statistics for the weeks between Aug. 1 and Sept. 9.

According to JSH there were 131 people hospitalized with the coronavirus. Of those 131, 120 are unvaccinated and only 11 were vaccinated.

Again of those 131, 25 are in the intensive care unit, with 24 of them being unvaccinated and only one is vaccinated. Of the 25 in the ICU, 17 people are on ventilators. None of those 17 individuals have received the vaccine.

According to the health department, so far in Christian County, 28,870 total vaccines have been given. Of those, 14,609 have been the first dose of the Moderna vaccine, while 13,276 have been the second dose and 48 have been the third dose. CCHD added that there have been 875 Johnson and Johnson doses provided. CCHD can administer Pfizer vaccines now and has administered 62 doses so far.

Last week, CCHD began administering third doses of the Moderna vaccine, specifically those with immunocompromised conditions.

CCHD clarified that the third dose Moderna shot is not a booster shot.

The third dose is to give people who have a compromised immune system extra protection and antibodies they need to get on the same level as people who aren’t immunocompromised, the health department said. The third dose is the same composition as the first two doses, CCHD added.

The department recommends that individuals who are in need of a third dose, to receive the same third dose as the first two. For example, if you received the Moderna vaccine, CCHD recommends getting the Moderna third dose. If you took Pfizer, they recommend getting the third Pfizer shot.

The third dose of the Moderna vaccine is currently available to this with the following immunocompromised conditions:

Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies

Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy

Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell trans plant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)

Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge, Wiskott-Aldrich syndromes)

Advanced or untreated HIV infection

Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, TNF blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory

CCHD added that the booster shot is not yet available in Christian County. The department also clarified that the booster shot is needed because the effectiveness of the first two doses, for either Moderna or Pfizer, diminishes over time.

The booster shot gives individuals an extra boost to particularly help people with what the department calls “waning immunity” and is recommended for everyone eight months after receiving their second vaccine dose.

CCHD also continues to encourage those who have not been vaccinated, to get vaccinated.

The health department says the vaccine helps prevent individuals from getting the virus, but that does not mean there is no possibility of contracting the virus. CCHD said it also helps with the severity of COVID’s symptoms.

Following approval by the Hopkinsville City Council, CCHD, in partnership with Jennie Stuart Health and Pennyrile Area Development District, is now offering $100 to the first 1,000 Hopkinsville residents who start and finish the COVID-19 vaccine series of their choice between Monday, Sept. 13 and Oct. 31.

That offer is part of an incentive program in order to increase the amount of local individuals vaccinated and to bring Christian County out of the bottom of state vaccination rates.

The incentive is available to those who provide ID or proof of a Hopkinsville residence at the time of their first dose.

CCHD adds that payment will not be made at the initial visit, but only after receipt of the second dose or at a later date if receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The health department is continuing to offer free vaccinations at the health department each week every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are not necessary, but you can call CCHD to schedule an appointment at 270-887-4160 or make an appointment online.

CCHD also announced this week that due to high demand and increasing number of positive cases, the health department is bringing back free COVID drive-thru testing at CCHD every Monday through Thursday from 7:45 a.m. — 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.

Appointments are not necessary for testing and CCHD asks that those entering from Canton Street to follow the signage outside of the building to the backside of the building for the drive-thru testing. CCHD also asks that no one enter the CCHD lobby for COVID testing.

As previously reported by the New Era, CCHD believes the majority of the new cases are due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

CCHD recommends that everyone follow the COVID safety precautions that were implemented previously when the county was in red.

Those include frequent hand washing, avoiding large social gatherings, especially among people who have not been vaccinated and wearing a mask for additional protection, especially indoors.

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