The Marshall County Health Department reported 43 new coronavirus cases Friday and a total of 20 deaths related to the virus.

The department was scheduled to update their number Monday afternoon after the Tribune-Courier deadline for today’s (Tuesday’s) newspaper. Look for updates on www.tribune-courier.com.

The numbers prior to the weekend increased Marshall County’s total COVID-19 cases since March to 1,276. Active cases accounted for 204 of those, according to the Marshall County Health Department Facebook post on Friday.

A 95-year-old female was the oldest person accounted among those diagnosed Friday, while an 18-year-old male was the youngest. All were isolating at home.

On Sunday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the pandemic may have plateaued in the state. He said there were 1,235 fewer positive cases and the state’s positivity rate had dropped 1.23% over the past week.

He reported 2,454 new cases of the coronavirus reported to state public health officials on Sunday, bringing the total to 223,104 positive cases in Kentucky since March 6. Five counties reported over 100 new cases while the five counties with the next highest number of new cases were Mercer (79), Hardin (75), McCracken (61), Harlan (52), and Campbell (48).

There were 1,712 Kentuckians hospitalized on Sunday, due to COVID-19. Of them, 434 were in the ICU, while 224 were on a ventilator. The state’s positivity rate continued its decline for the tenth day in a row and stood at 8.52% on Sunday.

There were 15 more deaths reported on Sunday, raising the pandemic total to 2,207. One was reported in Caldwell County.

Meanwhile the first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine arrived in Kentucky on Sunday. It was the first vaccine to win approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, receiving final regulatory approval Friday evening.

In this first shipment, Kentucky is receiving 12,675 vaccine vials, which are being shipped to 11 regional hospitals, in Louisville, Paducah, Bowling Green, Madisonville, Pikeville, Corbin, Lexington, and Edgewood. An additional 25,350 are being delivered to CVS and Walgreens, destined for long-term care facilities in the state.

Approval is also expected in the coming week for the Moderna vaccine, which is also reportedly 95% effective and doesn’t require the extremely cold storage that Pfizer’s does. This means Kentucky could receive 150,000 doses of vaccine during the month of December.

With 66% of the deaths coming from long-term care facilities, vaccines could help significantly lower Kentucky’s COVID-19 deaths beginning in January. Because long-term care residents tend to require the most care, vaccinations in these facilities will help reduce COVID-19’s burden on the health care system, which is in danger of becoming overburdened in some parts of the state.

Restrictions that were imposed by state officials on Nov. 20 ended Monday. This means restaurants and bars can reopen at 50% capacity. Masks are required except when actively drinking or eating. Service must stop at 11 p.m. and establishments must close no later than midnight. Indoor social gatherings are recommended to have no more than eight people from a maximum of two households. There is no recommended limit on the number of people from the same household. There is no limit on outdoor social gatherings.

Gyms, fitness centers, pools, and other indoor recreation facilities can operate at 50% capacity. Masks must be worn while exercising. Venues, event spaces and theaters can reopen at 50% capacity, and professional services can operate with up to 50% of employees working in-person; however, all employees who are able to work from home must do so.

Kentucky Today contributed to this article.