Covid-19 death toll in Ky. passes 4,000, and death trend remains at peak; new cases keep falling, but this week’s rank is 5th in U.S.

Kentucky Health News chart; dates are those on which deaths were listed after state reviews.

By Al Cross

Kentucky Health News
The pandemic’s death toll in Kentucky passed 4,000 Saturday, as the state listed 49 more deaths attributable to Covid-19. Eight of the deaths were listed as probable and 41 were confirmed.
The death toll is 4,020, 360 of which are listed as probable and 3,660 are confirmed by a panel of experts that reviews each case. The toll passed 3,000 just 23 days ago, showing of deaths have increased lately.
Saturday’s deaths kept the state’s 14-day rolling average at 45.3 deaths per day, the highest of the pandemic. The seven-day average is 43.7.
Kentucky’s Covid-19 death rate in the last seven days is 25th among the states, at 0.76 per 100,000 residents, according to a compilation by The New York Times. Alabama is first, at 2.57, and Tennessee is second, at 1.95. All other states bordering Kentucky except one, Missouri at 0.88, have lower rates: West Virginia, 0.75;  Ohio, 0.61; Virginia, 0.59; Indiana, 0.53; and Illinois, 0.51.
Residents of long-term-care facilities have accounted for 56.6 percent of Covid-19 deaths in Kentucky, while being only 11.7% of the cases. People 70 and older have made up 75% of the state’s Covid-19 fatalities, putting them in current priority for vaccination against the novel coronavirus.
As usual on a weekend, the state did not release details of the recently listed fatalities, but its daily report lists total deaths by county and percentage of the state’s total. The top 20 are Jefferson, 727 (18.1%); Fayette, 199 (5%); Daviess, 150 (3.7%); Hopkins, 116 (2.9%); Warren, 112 (2.8%); Kenton, 110 (2.7%); Hardin, 78 (1.9%); Christian, 71 (1.8%); Pulaski, 70 (1.7%); Oldham, 68 (1.7%); Boone, 66 (1.6%); Graves, 66 (1.6%); Madison, 63 (1.6%); McCracken, 60 (1.5%); Harlan, 56 (1.4%)’ Henderson, 55 (1.4%); Pike, 51 (1.3%); Adair, 49 (1.2%); Jessamine, 48 (1.2%); and Logan, 46 (1.1%).
The state reported 1,998 more cases of the virus Saturday, lowering its seven-day rolling average to 2,169, the lowest since Dec. 30. However, new-case numbers in other states have been declining, and The New York Times says Kentucky ranks fifth in new cases over the past seven days, at 52 per 100,000. South Carolina ranks first, at 68 per 100,000, followed by Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Other measures of the pandemic in Kentucky continued to improve. Hospitals reported 1,294 Covid-19 patients, the fewest since Nov. 12. Of those, 318 were in intensive care and 164 were on ventilators. The figures reflected usual trends: about a fourth of Covid-19 patients are in intensive care, and about half of those are ventilated.
The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days is 8.07%, the lowest since Dec. 27. It has declined pretty steadily since hitting a high of 12.45% on Jan. 10.
The counties with the top 20 rates of new cases in the last seven days are Allen, 81.8 per 100,000 residents; McCreary, 73.8; Webster, 72.9; Washington, 72; Butler, 71; Daviess, 69.5; Madison, 69.3; Caldwell, 68.4; Taylor, 66; Metcalfe, 65.3; Edmonson, 64.7; Nelson, 62.7; Floyd, 57.4; Anderson, 56.5; Whitley, 54.8; LaRue, 54.6; Grant, 54.1; Knox, 54.1; Monroe, 53.7; and Laurel, 52.9. The statewide rate is 42.3 per 100,000.
Counties with 10 or more new cases Saturday were: Jefferson, 299; Fayette, 148; Kenton, 89; Boone, 82; Laurel, 54; Warren, 54; Pike, 51; Allen, 47; Campbell, 46; Pulaski, 43; Christian, 40; Jessamine, 39; McCreary, 35; Henderson, 34; Daviess, 33; Madison, 29; Franklin, 28; Barren, 26; Taylor, 25; Scott, 23; Boyd, Greenup and Russell, 22; Hardin, 21; Floyd and Oldham, 20; Whitley, 18; Mason and Montgomery, 17; Anderson, 16; Bullitt, Clark, Clinton, Letcher and Nelson, 15; Grayson, Perry and Wayne, 14; Lawrence and Rowan, 13; Adair, Bell, Carter, Casey, Knox, McCracken, Meade and Shelby, 12; Boyle, Marshall and Mercer, 11; and Graves, Hopkins and Trimble, 10.
In other coronavirus news Saturday:
  • Only 45% of the employees at long-term care facilities in Kentucky had been vaccinated for the virus as of Feb. 1, according to data from CVS Health and Walgreens, which are handling vaccinations at the facilities. Betsy Johnson, director of the Kentucky Association for Health Care Facilities and the Kentucky Center for Assisted Livingtold the Lexington Herald-Leader, that persuading staffers to get the shots “is a day-to-day struggle with day-to-day goal setting,” due to their distrust of government and misinformation about vaccines.
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