Major measures of pandemic in Ky. fall; deaths remain high, but 14-day average declining; infection rates still high in Southern Ky.

Gov. Andy Beshear visited a vaccination site at Broadbent Arena in Louisville Friday. (State photo)

By Al Cross

Kentucky Health News

All major measures of the Covid-19 pandemic declined in Kentucky Friday, including the percentage of residents testing positive for the novel coronavirus in the last seven days, which dropped to 6.95%, the first time since Nov. 6 that it has been under 7%.

The state remains one of the leaders in new cases over the last seven days, but reported only 1,440 new cases of the virus Friday, lowering its seven-day rolling average of 1,729, the lowest since Nov. 4.

“It looks like we’re going to have fewer cases than last week, which would give us five straight weeks of declining case numbers. The positivity rate also continues to decline,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a video. In a Facebook post, he said “I am more optimistic than ever about our fight against Covid.”

He said in a news release, “This says you’re doing the right things and we’re headed in the right direction. But even if you’ve been vaccinated, we have to continue to wear masks and social distance until we can defeat this thing once and for all.”

The state attributed 42 more deaths to the disease, 35 confirmed and seven probable. The listings occur weeks and sometimes months after the deaths occur, after case reviews. In the last 14 days, the state has listed 41.8 deaths per day; yesterday’s 14-day rolling average was 42.9. It has declined the last three days.

Covid-19 hospitalizations in Kentucky are the lowest since Nov. 4, at 1,063, with 277 of them in intensive care and 154 of those on ventilators. Two of the 10 hospital regions reported more than 80% of ICU beds in use: Barren River, 81%; and Lake Cumberland, 96%.

Likewise, counties along and near the Tennessee border continued to have the highest infection rates in the last seven days. Those with rates more than double the state rate of 34.96 new cases per 100,000 residents were McCreary, 103.6; Clinton, 96.5; Allen, 94.5; Russell, 90.1; and Owsley, 87.4. 

Counties with more than 10 new cases were: Jefferson, 244; Kenton, 92; Boone, 86; Fayette, 83; Warren, 61; Madison, 42; Campbell, 40; Daviess, 39; Pulaski, 26; Hardin, 24; Scott, 23; Bullitt and McCreary, 22; McCracken, 20; Laurel, 19; Barren, Boyd and Knott, 18; Nelson, 17; Bell, 16; Perry, 15; Franklin, Hopkins and Lewis, 14; Breckinridge, Henderson and Trigg, 13; Lincoln, Oldham and Simpson, 12; and Boyle and Grant, 11.

In other coronavirus news Friday:

  • Beshear visited the Louisville regional vaccination site at Broadbent Arena and a vaccination campaign at a Lexington church to promote African Americans’ acceptance of coronavirus vaccines.
  • In Lexington, he said, “From the start of this pandemic, our faith leaders have stepped up to protect their congregations and their communities. So often, you lead by example in so many parts of our lives, and your efforts to keep our people safe during this time are inspiring.”
  • The list of the 42 newly listed deaths was dominated by Barren County, illustrating how cases are often submitted or reviewed in batches. The county’s fatalities were five women, 56, 60, 76, 82 and 92; and four men, 75, 78, 80 and 88.
  • The other fatalities were a Butler County man, 89; a Clark County man, 66; a Daviess County woman, 52; a Fayette County woman, 94; three Floyd County men, 75, 78 and 81; a Harlan County woman, 74; two Hart County men, 61 and 77; a Hopkins County woman, 96; a Hopkins County man, 59; a Jackson County man, 71; a Lawrence County man, 85; a Logan County man, 87; a Lyon County woman, 89; two Madison County women, 81 and 100; two Madison County men, 45 and 75; a Metcalfe County woman, 91; a Muhlenberg County woman, 68; a Muhlenberg County man, 79; an Oldham County man, 75; a Perry County woman, 90; a Todd County woman, 69; and a Todd County man, 96.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance saying that schools can safely reopen as long as they follow a list of safety measures, including six feet of social distancing. It did not say that teachers should be vaccinated before in-person schooling resumes.
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