Kentucky doubled its number of covid-19 patients on ventilators in the past month; total cases in intensive care resume uptick

Graph by Kentucky Health News

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

More covid-19 patients than ever are on ventilators in Kentucky hospitals, the number having doubled in the last month, from 110 to 220.

But that was the only new record in the state’s daily report Saturday, as the Thanksgiving holiday weekend continued, keeping coronavirus testing and laboratory work at lower-than-usual levels.
The state reported 2,437 new cases of the virus, and its seven-day rolling average of daily new cases declined for the second day, to 2,640.
Covid-19 cases in Kentucky hospitals rose slightly, to 1,722, just 25 short of the record set two days earlier. Intensive-care units held 408, just one short of the record set Wednesday. Ventilator cases are also ICU cases.
Hospitalizations for covid-19 are expected to keep rising in Kentucky and the nation in the next four weeks, most statistical models are predicting. Nationally, hospitalizations hit another new high Saturday: 91,635.
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus over the last seven days was 8.95 percent, 0.1 percentage point above Friday’s figure and approximately the average of the last seven days. A week ago it was 9.19%.
Gov. Andy Beshear reported 14 more covid-19 deaths, bringing the state’s toll to 1,885: a 58-year-old Barren County woman; an 86-year-old Hardin County man; a 70-year-old Hart County woman; a 74-year-old Logan County man; a 73-year-old Marshall County man; a 73-year-old McCracken County man; a 66-year-old Metcalfe County woman; a 75-year-old Monroe County man; a 79-year-old Scott County man; and five women, 57, 71, 78, 84 and 86, from Warren County.

A press release from Beshear’s office “urged Kentuckians to strengthen their resolve in the fight against covid-19, with the knowledge that help is on the way,” alluding to vaccines that will roll out in the next few months.

“I know we’re tired,” Beshear said in the release. “I know many of us are disappointed we couldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or enjoy Black Friday shopping the way we usually do. But I promise you: we have come so far and we are almost there. Hang on, Team Kentucky.”

Beshear “reminded Kentuckians to shop safely, purchasing gifts online when possible and avoiding crowded stores,” the release said. “If families do need to shop in person, he encouraged them to keep their time inside stores to a minimum and use curbside pickup whenever possible.”

“Though we have to do it differently, please support our small businesses this weekend and holiday season,” Beshear said. “Shopping small supports some of our local businesses that have suffered the most economically as we’ve battled covid-19. Let’s show them we have their backs.”

Beshear and Health Commissioner Steven Stack again reminded Kentuckians that receiving one negative test for the virus days before a gathering can’t guarantee that you won’t infect others at that event.

“Persistence is key to limiting the spread and preventing further COVID-19 related deaths,” Stack said. “Don’t give in to mask fatigue. Wear your mask correctly. Vaccines are around the corner and may well be the weapon we need to defeat this illness; until then, every Kentuckian has to rise to this great challenge of our times to care for and protect each other by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and staying home if you are sick.”

In other coronavirus news Saturday:
  • Counties with 10 or more new cases were: Jefferson, 474; Fayette, 224; Warren, 88; Boone, 86; Madison, 82; Kenton, 78; McCracken, 75; Boyd, 57; Christian, 51; Jessamine, 48; Laurel, 47; Campbell, 43; Pulaski, 39; Greenup, 36; Hardin, 36; Oldham, 33; Barren, 32; Lewis, 32; Floyd, 28; Whitley, 24; Nelson, 23; Garrard, 22; Bullitt, 21; Lincoln, 21; Boyle, Franklin and Lee, 20; Taylor, 19; Hart and Simpson, 18; Graves, Pike and Scott, 17; Calloway, Clinton, Hopkins and Spencer, 16; Carter, Johnson, Mason, Shelby and Woodford, 15; Estill, LaRue and Letcher, 14; Breathitt, Marshall and Menifee, 13; Anderson, Casey and Wayne, 12; Grant and Livingston, 11; and Daviess, 10.
  • The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals received briefs opposing Beshear’s appeal of a district judge’s order that his ban on in-person schooling could not extend to religious schools that are obeying other state rules. Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who joined the case filed by Danville Christian Academy, said more than 20 religious schools filed briefs in support.
  • In the final minutes of Friday’s basketball game between the University of Louisville and Seton Hall, two adults were ejected from the Yum Center over violations of its mask policy, the arena’s manager told the Courier Journal.
  • “The number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. could be nearly eight times higher than current reported cases, according to a new model by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionreports Katie Camero of McClatchy Newspapers. Through September, 6.8 million infections were reported, “but when researchers adjusted for potential false-negative test results, incomplete reporting of cases and asymptomatic or mildly ill individuals who never got tested, they learned there may have actually been about 52.9 million infections.” The researchers estimates that 84% of Americans have yet to catch the virus.
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