35 more Covid-19 deaths make January deadliest month of the pandemic in Ky., with a week left; positive-test rate keeps falling

Ky. Dept. for Public Health chart, with type added by Ky. Health News; click on it to enlarge

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News
The pandemic in Kentucky remained on a slight downward trend Sunday, with declines in the new-case average and other metrics, including the percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus in the past seven days. However, the trend in deaths from Covid-19 continued to rise, making January the deadliest month of the pandemic in the state.
The state reported 2,018 new cases of the novel coronavirus, the lowest on a Sunday since Jan. 3. The seven-day rolling average dropped to 2,854, after rising by 100 the day before, the first rise in 10 days.
The positive-test rate fell to 10.24%, the lowest since Jan. 1, which was the midpoint of a steep rise that peaked at 12.45% on Jan. 10. That was the metric Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted in his Facebook post of the daily numbers.
Covid-19 hospitalizations in Kentucky fell to 1,540, the fewest since Dec. 28, and only 371 were in intensive-care units, the fewest since Nov. 21. However, 218 of the Covid-19 patients in ICUs were on ventilators, the most since Jan. 13. They accounted for 59% of Covid-19 ICU patients, the biggest share since Dec. 26, when it was 60%.
The state recorded 35 more Covid-19 deaths, 31 confirmed and four probable. That raised the Kentucky toll of the pandemic to 3,421 and the January total to 759, exceeding December’s record of 754 with a week remaining.
Over the last seven days, Kentucky has recorded 42 deaths per day; the 14-day average is 37.14. Both are records. Deaths are recorded several days and sometimes weeks after death, after an official review.
Of the state’s 120 counties, 114 have recorded at least one Covid-19 death; the exceptions are Bath, Carlisle, Gallatin, Lee, Nicholas and Owsley.
In other coronavirus news Sunday:
  • The stress on intensive-care units eased slightly, as hospitals in the Lake Cumberland and northeast regions hospital-readiness regions reported their ICU beds 91% full. Barren River was at 87% and the easternmost region, from Lee to Pike counties, was at 85%.
  • The northeast region was also in the red zone for overall bed capacity, with 85% of its hospitals’ inpatient capacity in use.
  • Counties with 10 or more new cases were: Jefferson, 346; Fayette, 171; Kenton, 97; Daviess, 91; Warren, 68; Boone, 65; Campbell, 52; Hardin, 48; Franklin, 39; Boyd, 38; Jessamine, 32; Barren, 30; Madison, 30; Wayne, 29; Bullitt, 28; Oldham, 27; Scott, 24; Pike, 23; Pulaski, 23; Bourbon, 22; Floyd, 21; Lewis, 21; McCreary, 20; Christian, Harlan, Harrison and Nelson, 18; Boyle, Henderson, Laurel, McCracken, Marshall and Woodford, 17; Ohio, 16; Rowan, 15; Logan and Marion, 14; Calloway, Graves and Shelby, 13; Clay and Meade, 12; Garrard, Hopkins, Powell and Taylor, 11; and Bell, Butler, Clark, Metcalfe, Simpson and Union, 10.
  • Oldham County, which has several state prisons, was the only one averaging more than 100 new daily cases per 100,000 population, at 100.9. Other counties above the statewide rate of 61: Campbell, 95.4; Hart, 92.3; Hancock, 90.1; Cumberland, 86.4; Washington, 86.2; Butler, 85.4; Harrison, 84.0; Daviess, 83.0; Bullitt, 77.0; Knox, 76.6; Clinton, 75.5; Laurel, 75.2; Nelson, 74.8; Warren, 74.1, Barren, 73.6; Caldwell, 72.8; Harlan, 72.5; Garrard, 71.2; Floyd, 70.2; Meade, 70.0; McLean, 69.8; Boone, 69.6, Kenton, 68.9; Bell; 68.0; Boyle, 67.0; Franklin, 67.0; Jessamine, 66.5; Boyd, 65.1; Whitley, 65.0; Marshall, 64.8; Clay, 64.6; Ohio, 64.3, Christian, 63.5; Graves, 62.1; Madison, 61.8; Calloway, 61.5; and Wayne, 61.1.
  • The state Corrections Department‘s coronavirus report, last updated Friday, showed 631 active cases among inmates and 88 among staff at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in Oldham County. The next largest counts were 288 inmates and 52 staff at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in West Liberty. In all state prisons, there were 1,085 active cases among inmates and 158 among staff.
  • Accelerating coronavirus vaccinations to reach President Biden’s goal of 100 million shots in the first 100 days of his administration may have to wait until March, Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionsaid on “Fox News Sunday.” She said the administration is working with manufacturers and hopes they will scale up production “dramatically” within five weeks.
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