What is the accurate COVID count?

Published 9:40 am Tuesday, January 5, 2021

We need proper, official recognition of the Boyle County residents we have lost to the pandemic. That has not happened so far.

On December 27, the Boyle County Health Department posted on Facebook that: “the state site doesn’t reflect our total: 25 to date with the average age being 75.9. Youngest has been 54 with the oldest 97.”

On that same day, the state site (kycovid19.ky.gov) reported only two deaths. Since then, local residents have openly grieved two more deaths, but the state has shown no increase.

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The recent deaths have hit our Black neighbors extra hard. I’ve heard directly from family members and friends of those who have passed away in recent weeks at Ephraim McDowell, and the losses are terrible. While state officials call on us to grieve the loss of roughly 1 in every 2,000 Kentuckians, the losses to the Black community here are close to 1 in 200 — and those losses are invisible in state reporting.

Let’s not accept silence about the general inaccuracy about our county or about the disproportionate impact on Black residents. Let’s ask why the counts are wrong.

Health officials at both the state and the local level are doing heroic work to explain how we can stay safe and to mobilize delivery of vaccine across the state. I know that. I know what I’m asking may take effort that hard to fit in.

I ask anyway.

Face the issue, find the problem, and fix it. Recognize those we have lost. Honor them. Count them.

Susan Perkins Weston