Covid-19 death rates in Kentucky keep accelerating, and now the average of new virus cases goes up, too, after 10 days of decline

Kentucky Health News chart; dates are those deaths are recorded after cases are reviewed.

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

For several days, trends of the pandemic in Kentucky have generally declined, except deaths, which are the longest-lagging indicator. But Saturday, the state reported 3,795 new cases of the novel coronavirus, raising the seven-day rolling average for the first time in 10 days, by 100 cases, to 2,903.

The state recorded 49 more fatalities with Covid-19, continuing the deadly trend of the last two weeks, when deaths have averaged 36.4 per day. The trend has accelerated in the last week, with an average of 41.9.

Deaths take several days to be recorded, because each case goes through a review process. The Covid-19 death toll is now 3,386, of which 3,114 are confirmed and 272 probable. Four of Saturday’s were probable.

In January, 724 total Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in Kentucky. With eight days left in the month, that is almost as many as the 754 recorded in December, the state’s deadliest month of the pandemic.

Almost half the Covid-19 deaths in Kentucky, 48.3 percent, have been among people in their 80s or older. More than a fourth, 26.4%, have been among people in their 70s.

The state’s latest daily report also says 65% of the deaths, have been among people who were residents of long-term care facilities. They have accounted for 12.5% of the cases reported in the state.

Nursing homes and other long-term facilities are among top priorities for the two Covid-19 vaccines, but that rollout, handled by CVS Health and Walgreens under federal contracts, has been slow.

Saturday’s hospital reports showed little change. Kentucky hospitals reported 1,604 Covid-19 patients, 403 of them in intensive-care units and 209 of those on ventilation. ICU beds in the state were 70% full, with those in the Lake Cumberland and easternmost regions at 98% and 95%, respectively.

Black percentages down: The report showed that African Americans’ percentage of total coronavirus cases in Kentucky has declined to their approximate share of the state’s population, 8.5%. Their share of deaths is slightly higher, 8.9%, but has also declined markedly. In June, Blacks’ death rate was about double their share of the state population. Here’s a chart on age, race and ethnicity:

Kentucky Department for Public Health charts; for a larger version, click on it.

In other coronavirus news Saturday:

  • Counties with more than 10 new cases were: Jefferson, 603; Bullitt, 529; Fayette, 209; Warren, 123; Kenton, 116; Hardin, 93; Oldham, 93; Daviess, 87; Boone, 85; Campbell, 76; Laurel, 75; Franklin, 56; Pulaski, 52; Nelson, 51; Jessamine, 50; Floyd, 49; Christian, 46; Whitley, 45; Madison, 41; Pike, 41; Scott, 39; Hopkins, 37; Marshall, 36; Henderson, 35; Clark, 33; Shelby, 33; Meade, 30; Hart, Knox and Rowan, 29; Taylor, 28; Barren, 26; Boyd and Letcher, 24; Graves and McCracken, 23; Grayson and Muhlenberg, 22; Bath and Harrison, 21; Boyle and Washington, 20; Ohio, 19; Garrard, Logan and Montgomery, 18; Allen, Breckinridge and Pendleton, 16; Bell, Butler, Carter and Clinton, 15; Anderson, Hancock, Henry, Marion, Mercer and Woodford, 14; Fleming, Grant and Mason, 13; Lincoln, Morgan and Spencer, 12; and LaRue, 11.
  • Bullitt County has the highest seven-day infection rate, with an average of 157 cases per day over the week. Oldham County, site of several state prisons is second at 137. Clinton is third at 99. Morgan County, which topped the list for many days due to an outbreak at the state prison in West Liberty, has dropped to 60, just below the statewide rate of 62.
  • Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, “always” considered quitting her job, she told Margaret Brennan in an interview to be broadcast on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” She told Brennan that her job and the pandemic were politicized under the Trump administration. She said she plans to retire in a few weeks.
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