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Appalachians Coping With Coronavirus Draw Attention

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Berea College
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Coronavirus activity has been confirmed in all but seven of Kentucky’s 120 counties.  Those seven are in the eastern half of the Commonwealth and Governor Beshear said Monday he’s gotten reports that many in Appalachia Kentucky are being compliant with COVID 19 guidelines.

Loyal Jones directed Berea College’s Appalachian Center from 1970 to 1993.  Now living in North Carolina, Jones said he’s not surprised by Beshear’s comment. “I do think that rural people and people in the past did have a wider circle of both relatives and neighbors and friends that they cared about and looked after one another,” said Jones.

Jones added it seems many people have become narrower in their scope of attention today.  Today called the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center in Berea, Director Chris Green said the health care infrastructure in parts of eastern Kentucky is less than ideal, so caring for each other is still a part of the eastern Kentucky culture.  “Folks in the mountains of eastern Kentucky are always careful to take care of each other and to be mindful of each other’s welfare and ok ness.  Once, when I was down in a mine with folks, what I realized is that those people are all of the time safe.  Right, saying, are you ok?” said Green.

Green added that kinship network goes beyond family.  He said they are people living their lives together.  He said many maybe have lived side by side for a long time. 

Loyal Jones reflects on his early time in Appalachia North Carolina during Great Depression days:

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Loyal Jones Appalachian Center Director Chris Green offers his thoughts on Governor Beshear's comment this week that eastern Kentuckians are, by and large, being compliant with COVID-19 guidelines:

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