Pandemic metrics keep falling, but Ky. infection rate remains one of highest; impact on Blacks in state is no longer disproportionate

County infection-rate ranges since start of pandemic, with lowest and highest marked.
For other counties, via an interactive map from the American Communities Projectclick here.


By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Two major measures of the pandemic in Kentucky, new cases of the novel coronavirus and newly listed Covid-19 deaths, dropped sharply Saturday.
The state reported only 769 new cases, the lowest number since the day after Christmas, when there was little testing and reporting and 764 cases were reported. The most recent low was 647 on Oct. 19.
Testing has declined recently in Kentucky, but state officials say the decline in cases is real because the percentage of residents testing positive for the novel coronavirus continues to decline. It continued to drop Saturday, falling to 6.87%, the lowest in more than three months.
While new cases and the positive-test rate have fallen pretty steadily for the past month, they have done likewise in other states, and Kentucky’s infection rate in the last seven days is about sixth in the nation.
The list of Kentucky deaths officially attributed to the Covid-19 disease grew by only 19 Saturday, far below recent averages. The cases are listed weeks or even months after death, after official reviews, so the daily numbers fluctuate; the 14-day rolling average dropped to 39.9, from 41.8 the day before.
As usual on weekends, the state did not issue a list of fatalities by county, sex and age. However, the state’s daily report showed that African Americans have been 8.4% of Kentucky’s Covid-19 deaths, where the race of the decedent is known. That is at or below their percentage of the state’s population; early in the pandemic, their share of cases and deaths were double or nearly double their population share. They account for 8.5% of cases.
The statewide infection rate over the last seven days fell to 31.9 cases per 100,000 residents. Counties with rates more than double the statewide rate were Owsley, 84.1; Clinton, 82.5; McCreary, 81.2; Russell, 71.7; Marion, 70.4; and Allen, 64.3.
Counties with 10 or more new cases were: Jefferson, 98; Kenton, 73; Fayette, 46; Boone, 45; Warren, 34; Campbell, 30; Bullitt, 25; Daviess, 20; Whitley, 20; Montgomery, 17; Laurel, 15; Nelson, 14; Shelby, 14; Franklin, Hardin, Perry and Pulaski, 13; Knox and Mason, 12; Jessamine and Madison, 11; and Barren, 10.
The Corrections Department‘s report of cases in state prisons, updated Friday, showed a great decline in active cases, to only 45 inmates and 23 employees. More than half of the inmate cases are at the Roederer Correctional Complex in Oldham County.
Kentucky hospitals’ Covid-19 numbers also declined: 1,059 patients, 266 of them in intensive care and 143 of those on ventilators. Three of the 10 hospital-readiness regions reported more than 80% of their ICU beds in use: Lake Cumberland, 93.3%; the easternmost, 85.3%; and Barren River, 80.6%.
In other coronavirus news Saturday:
  • An interactive map produced by the American Communities Project shows that for the pandemic as a whole, most Kentucky counties have had infection rates lower than those in adjoining states. The project’s analysis found that sparsely populated counties have the highest rates.
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