Key numbers of pandemic in Kentucky head in wrong direction

Ky. Health News graph of initial, unadjusted daily reports

By Al Cross

Kentucky Health News
Kentucky recorded 921 new cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday, a jump of more than 100 from the day before. That raised the state’s seven-day rolling average of new cases to 634, which is 27 higher than Wednesday.
The one-day rise in the average was the largest since a jump of 69 on Feb. 25. That was 5.6 percent higher than the day before; case numbers were twice as much then. Thursday’s number was 4.4% higher than Wednesday’s.
Also going the wrong direction Thursday was the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days. It was 2.99%, continuing almost a week of small increases from a recent low of 2.8%.
The statewide new-case rate over the last seven days dropped slightly, to 10.93 per 100,000 residents. Kentucky’s rate remained 34th in the nation, according to The New York Times. The state’s rank has declined recently as cases rise in other states; now that trend may be changing.
Counties with rates more than double the statewide rate were Powell, 46.2; Harlan, 41.2; McCreary, 36.5; Whitley, 33.5; Lee, 30.9; Owsley, 29.1; Simpson, 24.6; Perry, 23.3; Lyon, 22.6; and Knox, 22. All but Simpson and Lyon are in Appalachia.

Counties with more than 10 new cases were:  Jefferson, 143; Warren, 59; Fayette, 53; Laurel, 43; Kenton, 27; Letcher, 27; Scott, 25; Whitley, 23; Christian, 20; Allen, Daviess, Harlan and McCracken, 18; Boone, 17; Hardin and Logan, 16; Campbell, Madison, Magoffin and Powell, 15; Floyd, Montgomery and Simpson, 13; Marshall and Pulaski, 12; and Butler and Casey, 11.

After a small spike on Wednesday, hospital numbers were down Thursday. Kentucky hospitals reported 411 Covid-19 patients, 92 of them in intensive care and 45 of those on ventilators. Respectively, those numbers were down 2, 18 and 3 from Wednesday.
The state added 18 more deaths to its Covid-19 fatality list, 13 from reporting by health departments and five from an ongoing audit of death certificates, raising the toll to 6,108. As part of a reporting cutback going into Easter weekend, the state did not identify the dead by county, age, sex and date.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced the day’s numbers in a Facebook post without comment, but as usual, hundreds of people in his audience had something to say on the social-media platform.
“Ellie May Clampett,” likely a pseudonym, wrote, “Numbers are rising again. Thanks, spring break; you did a great job.” Experts have said spring-break crowds could be partly responsible for the national rise in cases.
A poster identified as Keil Carter wrote, “I choose to not get the vaccine. I’m also not going to stay home, wear a mask or social distance.” That brought several adverse replies, including this one: “You might regret that decision. My friend’s husband said the same thing and he was buried last Saturday.”
Another wrote, “My mask protects you from catching Covid from me; your mask protects me from getting Covid from you. I caught it from someone who had no symptoms and I was asymptotic when I gave it to my husband. He died of Covid in January. I hope this does not happen to someone you love.”
On Lexington’s WKYT-TV, Stuart Spillman of the Lake Cumberland District Health Department told reporter Phil Pendleton, “If you refuse to take the vaccine, you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. You’re the reason this is going to continue the way it is.”
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, touring the state, continued to urge acceptance of vaccines by his fellow Republicans, about a third of whom in national polls have said they won’t get a shot. He said there is “no good reason” not to.
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