All metrics used to measure coronavirus impact in Ky. go down, except death trends; Beshear attributes improvements to masks

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Britainy Beshear, Gov. Andy Beshear and soloist Keith Dean with 3,301 American flags on the back lawn of the Capitol, one for each Covid-19 victim. (State photo)

By Melissa Patrick

Kentucky Health News
Increased masking is likely the reason for the drop in daily new cases of the novel coronavirus and the decreasing percentage of Kentuckians who test positive for it, so “Keep it up,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday.
“Folks, there’s a pretty simple reason that I think our cases are declining, and that’s that I see you all doing the hard work,” Beshear said in a Facebook post. “I see people wearing a mask now more than ever and engaging in social distancing when they can. Keep it up. We are going to beat this virus in 2021. We’ve just got to protect everyone until we get there.”
Every metric used to measure the pandemic in Kentucky, except the increasing trends in deaths, went down Friday.
Beshear announced 2,756 new cases of the virus, bringing the state’s seven-day rolling average to 2,803, down for the 10th day in a row. That was also the seven-day average on Dec. 22, when the state was in a rough plateau that lasted until a surge of cases from the holidays, which recently abated.
Further, the positive-test rate of 10.8% is the lowest it’s been since Jan. 2. It has declined 10 of the last 11 days since hitting a high of 12.45% Jan. 10.
Kentucky hospitals reported 1,561 patients with Covid-19 Friday, 387 of them in intensive care and 195 of those on ventilators.
Deaths from the disease continue to trend upward. Beshear reported 36 more Friday, all but one of them confirmed. That brought the state’s death toll to 3,337, and took the state’s seven-day average for deaths to 39.4 and the 14-day average to 34.4, both new records.
“Remember, deaths trail cases by typically even up to a month, so we are still seeing the loss associated with that exponential growth that we believe we’ve stopped,” Beshear said.
To honor those who have died, Beshear, his wife Britainy and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman held a memorial ceremony on the back lawn of the Capitol, where a flag was planted for every victim.

“Every flag you see represents a real Kentuckian, one who was and is loved by their families and friends, who meant something to the communities in which they lived,” Beshear said. “Each and every loss is singular and heartbreaking.” His news release has more details; click here to view a video of the ceremony.

In other Covid-19 news Friday:

  • The newly recorded fatalities included eight men in Oldham County, which has state prisons with virus outbreaks. They were 61, 62, 65, 71, 74, 78, 80 and 82 years old.
  • The others were an Anderson County woman, 84; two Anderson County men, 77 and 86; a Daviess County woman, 98; five Daviess County men, 65, 73, 74, 79 and 89; a Graves County man, 81; a Hopkins County man, 62; four Jefferson County women, 51, 78, 79 and 94; three Jefferson County men, 63, 67 and 94; two Lawrence County women, 59 and 74; a Lawrence County man, 87; a Letcher County man, 75; two Perry County women, 59 and 90; and four Perry County men, 51, 61, 75 and 76.
  • Counties with an average daily new-case count of 100 per 100,000 residents in the past seven days were Oldham, at 128.1 per 100,000; Morgan, 119.1; and Clinton, 100.7. Morgan has a state prison with a big outbreak; Clinton’s rate has been over 100 for some time.
  • Counties with 10 or more new cases were Jefferson, 445; Fayette, 260; Bullitt, 167; Warren, 98; Daviess, 96; Kenton, 89; Boone, 82; Christian, 55; Campbell, 54; Oldham, 49; Clark, Hardin and Jessamine, 45; Pike, 41; Madison, 40; Laurel and Scott, 34; Pulaski, 31; Boyd, Marshall and Nelson, 30; Boyle, Floyd and Muhlenberg, 29; Bell, 28; Graves and Meade, 26; Harrison and Knox, 25; Barren, 24; Anderson, McCracken and Montgomery, 23;  Calloway and Hart, 22; Wayne, 20; Bourbon and Shelby, 19; Garrard, 18; Henderson, Hopkins and Logan, 15; Clay, Clinton, Franklin, Henry and Rockcastle, 14; Cumberland, Grayson and Woodford, 13;  Grant, Greenup, Harlan and Ohio, 12; Pendleton, Spencer and Whitley, 11; Green, Letcher and Mercer, 10.
  • Intensive-care beds in the eastern hospital-readiness region and the Lake Cumberland region are over 90% capacity (90.4% and 91.1% respectively) and the northeast region is at 82.8%. And Northern Kentucky is using 81.6% of its overall hospital capacity.
  • In a story about vaccine acceptance in Kentucky, Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander told Deborah Yetter of the Louisville Courier Journal that he estimates 65% of nursing-home workers are taking a coronavirus vaccine, which he expects will increase, and more than 90% of residents are taking one. Beshear said Thursday that many staffers who have said they don’t want to get vaccinated now are “soft nos” and are simply waiting until more people have gotten it.
  • Nearly 1,200 educators in Jefferson County Public Schools received their vaccine on Friday, says a news release from the governor’s office. “Kentucky is among only 19 U.S. states – and the only state in the region – that continues to prioritize vaccinations for all K-12 staffers. In addition, Kentucky is the only state with plans to finish the first round of these vaccinations by the end of the first week in February,” says the release. WDRB reports on the vaccine event.
  • As hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians clamor for their first dose of vaccine, Alex Acquisto of the Lexington Herald-Leader tells the stories of veterans and people in their 70s who keep hitting roadblocks in their quests for a dose. Beshear has warned that demand will exceed supply for months.
  • With vaccine-supply problems threatening delays, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention altered its recommendations on dosing Thursday to say that second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines can be given up to six weeks after the first, instead of three or four weeks, respectively.
  • Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. sais in a Jan. 21 news release that its antibody drug, bamlanivimab, can prevent Covid-19 illness in residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, The Associated Press reports. The National Institutes of Health study, which included more than 1,000 residents and staff in such facilities, found that those who got the drug had up to a 57% lower risk of Covid-19, compared to those who got a placebo; and among nursing-home residents only, the risk was reduced by up to 80%, AP reports: “Lilly said it plans to work with regulators to see about expanding the authorization to prevent and treat Covid-19 in long-term care facilities, where vaccinations are already underway.”
  • Almost 60% of people 65 and older said Jan. 11-18 that they didn’t have enough information about when or where they will be able to get vaccinated, the latest Kaiser Family Foundation Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor poll found. Among essential workers, 55% said they have enough information about where they can get the vaccine. However, the same percentage (and 21% of health-care workers) said they don’t have enough information about when they will be able to get it. “The Biden administration has been left with a huge challenge on vaccine administration. Most Americans don’t know when or where they can get a vaccine, including older Americans, who are already eligible to get a vaccine in a growing number of states,” KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said. “Understandably large numbers of people are frustrated, angry and confused.” 
  • Kaiser Health News reports that the poll also shows that Black and Hispanic adults, as well as those in low-income households, are also struggling to find vaccine information, with at least two-thirds saying they do not have enough information about when they can get vaccinated.
Previous Article
Next Article