Monroe County Mayor Mitch Ingram stated the local area is starting to see a “light at the end of the tunnel” concerning COVID-19 numbers.

As of Sunday, the number of active COVID cases was down to 136 in Monroe County, a decline of 16 since Wednesday.

“That is still way to many, but compared to November/December when we were well over 700 active cases then at this point we will take (that),” Ingram said. “Our positivity average is down to 12%, which that was almost 30% back in November/December.”

Ingram pointed out that the county has seen 88 COVID related deaths.

“We have very few hospitalizations right now, which we are very excited about that,” he expressed. “With the vaccine coming down the path, and we are currently vaccinating a lot of people right now, we have vaccinated around 5,000 people.”

He noted that the state has now allowed people 65 and older to be vaccinated.

“Some local pharmacies have received vaccines and they have started to distribute them,” he noted. “Chota has started vaccinating as well. Vaccine shipments are more steady and reliable now and teachers in the county should be vaccinated soon.”

Ingram stated that even though COVID will probably be around for a while longer, the county’s condition is improving.

“There is a light at the end of tunnel,” he expressed. “We still continue to test at the health department on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that you can still continue to test for the virus as well.”

As of Sunday, there had been 5,215 total cases in Monroe County, but the trend in new cases was heading downward. From Jan. 25 through Feb. 7, the county saw 275 new cases of the coronavirus, however from Feb. 8 through Feb. 21, there were 225 new cases.

The rate of 34.5 new cases per 100,000 residents from Feb. 8 through Feb. 21 was still higher than the county’s average since March 5, 2020 (31.8), but lower than the previous 14 days’ average of 42.2.

During the past week, Monroe County has averaged 62 tests per day, which has also trended down since early January.

As of Sunday, there were 129 people hospitalized in the county with COVID-19.

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