Kentucky was a pandemic hot spot in mid-January, but was cooling; deaths spiked, but new Covid-19 hospital admissions fell

White House Coronavirus Task Force table; for a larger version, click on it.

Kentucky was a pandemic hot spot in the week covered by the first White House Coronavirus Task Force report from the new Biden administration, issued Thursday for a reporting week that had ended nearly a week earlier.
White House Coronavirus Task force map; click to enlarge

Perhaps the most striking figure in the report was that deaths from Covid-19 were up 35 percent from Jan. 16 to Jan. 22, compared to the previous week. That reflected the increasingly lengthy lists of deaths that the state announces on weekdays (with numbers on weekends).

Week-to-week comparisons are tricky, because deaths are not listed until they are confirmed by a review process, which can take days or even weeks after death. During the reporting week, Kentucky had 275 deaths, or 39.4 per day, 35% higher than the 205 deaths and 29.3 average of the previous week. Gov. Andy Beshear has blamed the spike in deaths on the surge in cases during and after the holidays.
The report ranks Kentucky 12th in the rate of new coronavirus cases Jan. 16-22, and sixth in the percentage of residents testing positive for it. State officials say the federal calculation method overstates the state’s positive-test rate, but unofficial pandemic trackers ranked Kentucky as a hot spot.
Both rates were down from the previous week, but how much was unclear because the outgoing Trump administration did not issue a report that week. Cases were also down in nursing homes, where the first round of vaccinations has been completed, with perhaps a few exceptions.
White House Coronavirus Task force map; click to enlarge

The first Biden administration report did not begin with the usual narrative about the status of the pandemic in the state and recommendations of what to do about it. A short note at the top of the report said, “The weekly State Profile Reports are currently under review. The format and content may change in coming reports.”

It said the rate of new hospital admissions for Covid-19 was high, but down slightly from the previous week. A graph in the report showed that new Covid-19 admissions at the 98 reporting hospitals were lower than in any of the eight weeks immediately preceding the reporting week.
Age by color: orange 18-39; green 40-69; red 70+; gray unknown; lighter shade for suspected cases
The report said coronavirus testing was down 15% during the week, but a footnote on the chart said reporting of tests may have been delayed.
The report has county-level maps showing new cases going back four months.
White House Coronavirus Task force chart and maps; click on any image to enlarge it.
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