Today marks the anniversary of the first COVID-related death in McCracken County, listed as an 81-year-old man who was also one of the first two cases of COVID-19 recorded in the county on March 23, 2020.

In the months that followed, McCracken County recorded 41 COVID-related deaths in 2020 and 77 through Monday in 2021, according to numbers reported by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Through October, McCracken County reported 12 COVID-related deaths, but that number grew exponentially, as the county recorded 14 deaths in November, 15 each in December and January and 13 in February before ballooning to 47 reported COVID-related deaths in March.

The number of COVID-19 cases in McCracken County also jumped in November and December, but saw a steady decline since then. According to state numbers, the number of cases went from 497 in October to 1,565 in November and 1,480 in December.

With the turn of the new year, that number began to decrease to 924 in January, 547 in February and 393 in March.

State reports indicated that McCracken County has had 6,202 total cases of COVID-19.

“Everything’s been on the decline — which is great,” said Purchase District Public Health Director Kent Koster. “We continue to look for that to be the case as more and more people are being vaccinated.

“We do anticipate that there could be a bump up here and there whenever there are certain large events that take place that cause people to come closer together, such as spring break.”

Koster said numbers related to spring break will be seen a couple of weeks after people return.

He added that people’s attitudes toward the pandemic have changed since vaccines started to be distributed.

“We’ve definitely seen more and more people wear masks,” he said. “There’s a certain group of people who just aren’t going to wear masks. Some people, too, who wear masks are becoming more and more lax about wearing masks.

“When you start seeing the numbers come down and showing the positive results and people start getting vaccines, they’re like, ‘Well, I can’t get it anymore because I’ve been vaccinated,’ then some of them will shed their masks and stop worrying about spreading it to others who haven’t had the vaccine.”

Koster said the reduction in cases can be attributed to people following guidelines as well as the increase in vaccines.

“What we’re faced with now is we had so much demand and so little supply of the vaccine,” he said. “Now, we have much more vaccine and less demand. We’re right at that point where we’re seeing more open appointments and schedules aren’t being filled.

“The job in front of us now is to really promote for those folks who haven’t received a vaccine to go ahead and get the vaccine.”

Information about scheduling appointments to get a COVID-19 vaccine can be found at purchasehealth.org.

McCracken County COVID-19 Data

Month-by-month numbers

Month — Deaths — Cases

Mar 2020 — 0 — 8

Apr 2020 — 2 — 47

May 2020 — 0 — 34

June 2020 — 1- 77

July 2020 — 1- 159

Aug 2020- 3 — 185

Sep 2020- 3 — 245

Oct 2020- 2 — 497

Nov 2020 — 14- 1,565

Dec 2020 — 15 — 1,480

Jan 2021 — 15 — 924

Feb 2021 — 13 — 547

Mar 2021 — 47 — 393

Apr 2021— 2 — 41

Totals: 118 deaths; 6,202 cases

— through Monday

Source: KCHFS

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