Ky. Covid-19 death trend at new high; new cases keep falling but 7-day average is 7th in U.S.; positive-test percentage falls again

New York Times chart, labeled by Kentucky Health News; it is updated daily on the Times site.

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Kentucky’s Covid-19 death trend reached a new high Friday, but the percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the novel coronavirus dropped to a level not seen for five and a half weeks. Meanwhile, the number of daily new cases kept falling but remained one of the highest in the nation.

State officials listed 50 more deaths from the disease, 43 confirmed and seven probable, raising Kentucky’s death toll to 3,971.
The daily death count was the third highest of the pandemic, but daily figures are for deaths that are listed after case reviews that can take weeks. A better measure is the 14-day rolling average of deaths, which reached 45.3, the highest yet. Nationally, daily deaths topped 5,000 for the first time.
The state reported 2,261 new cases of the coronavirus, lowering its seven-day rolling average to 2,262, the lowest since Dec. 30. However, most other states’ new-case numbers have also been declining, so Kentucky’s average was the seventh highest in the country, according to The New York Times. The state’s seven-day death average ranked 23rd.

In a press release, Gov. Andy Beshear reminded Kentuckians to keep their Super Bowl gatherings small and safe.

“No matter who you’re rooting for on Sunday, let’s make sure we hold on to our progress against this virus as Team Kentucky,” he said. “We’ve already vaccinated 10% of our population and every day we get closer to the finish line we’ve all been waiting for. Hang in there and do what it takes to protect each other a little bit longer.”

Hospital measures of the pandemic declined. Kentucky hospitals reported 1,318 Covid-19 patients, the fewest since Nov. 12; 330 of those were in intensive care and 167 of those were on ventilators.

Only two hospital-readiness regions reported more than 80 percent of their intensive-care beds full: Lake Cumberland, 95.6%, and the easternmost region, from Lee to Pike counties, 85.3%.

The 50 additional fatalities were an Allen County woman, 87; an Anderson County woman, 74, a Bath County man, 57; a Boone County man, 64; two Campbell County men, 72 and 90; a Casey County woman, 63; a Clay County man, 76; a Daviess County woman, 69; three Fayette County men, 76, 88 and 94; a Grayson County woman, 88; a Hardin County woman, 78; two Hardin County men, 59 and 88; five Jefferson County women, 55, 61, 72, 81 and 87; five Jefferson County men, 52, 62, 62, 65 and 70; three Kenton County women, 68, 75 and 76; a Kenton County man, 71; a Knott County woman, 85; a LaRue County man, 65; two Letcher County women, 76 and 88; a Letcher County man, 84; a Lincoln County man, 92; a McLean County man, 68; a Marshall County woman, 87; a Meade County woman, 64; a Menifee County woman, 86; two Nelson County men, 49 and 66; an Ohio County woman, 82; two Perry County women, 79 and 89; a Pike County man, 89; a Pulaski County man, 63; a Robertson County man, 82; a Rowan County woman, 58; and a Shelby County man, 78.

Counties with 10 or more new cases were: Jefferson, 394; Fayette, 135; Boone, 115; Kenton, 112; Daviess, 68; Campbell, 64; Warren, 64; Pulaski, 54; Christian, 53; Hardin, 52; Webster, 45; Laurel, 43; Nelson, 39; Graves, 34; Bullitt, 31; Jessamine, 31; McCracken, 30; Scott, 30; Madison, 29; Grant, 26; Floyd, Franklin, Henderson and Oldham, 24; Hopkins and Pike, 22; Anderson and Barren, 21; Clark, 20; Boyd and Whitley, 17; Knox, Marshall and Ohio, 16; Bell, Greenup, Mason, Shelby and Woodford, 15; Allen, Johnson and Logan, 14; Clay, Marion, Meade and Taylor, 13; Muhlenberg and Russell, 12; Perry, 11; and Calloway, Hart, Mercer, Montgomery and Morgan, 10.

In other coronavirus news Friday:

  • Black Kentuckians’ share of coronavirus cases and deaths continued to decline, according to the state’s daily report. They are 8.5% of cases, equal to their share of the state’s population, and 8.6% of deaths. Early in the pandemic, those rates were double or almost double the population percentage.
  • After years of declining drug-overdose deaths in Fayette County, it had more than ever last year, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. That reflects the preliminary report from the state drug-policy director that when the cases are reviewed and compiled, 2020 will be a record year for overdoses in Kentucky. Jeremy Chisenall, citing substance-abuse official Amy Baker, reports: “Restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus meant many face-to-face support meetings and other therapies were stopped or curtailed.”
  • In rate cases, the state Public Service Commission is ordering utilities to drop surcharges for late payment of bills, saying they have “no material effect on the percentage of customers paying on time,” by freshman Rep. Josh Bray, R-Mt. Vernon, has a bill to let them charge the fees no matter what the PSC says, John Cheves reports for the Herald-Leader.
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