Positive-test rate falls a bit, to a historic low, but 7-day average of new cases rises slightly; state’s trajectory compares well to others

Chart adapted by Kentucky Health News shows how states’ trends compare. Click on it to enlarge.

By Al Cross

Kentucky Health News
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the novel coronavirus in the last seven days fell Friday to 2.79 percent, the smallest share since late June, soon after testing for the virus became widely available. The rate has been under 3.4% since March 20 and was 2.81% Thursday.

“It’s encouraging to see our positivity rate decrease again, but we need to work even harder to make sure our weekly case numbers start decreasing again as well,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press release. “Every Kentuckian 16 and older should get their Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible. It’s fast, it’s safe, it’s easy and you could save a life by doing so, maybe even your own life.”

The seven-day average of new cases rose to 537 per day, with the state’s Friday report of 744 cases.
The statewide rate of daily new cases over the last seven days rose 0.28, to 9.95 cases per 100,000 residents. Kentucky’s rate dropped to 36th among the states, according to The New York Times.
Counties with rates more than double the statewide rate were Harlan, 29.7; Robertson, 27.1; Whitley, 25.2; Powell, 24.3; Menifee, 24.2; Bracken, 24.1, McCreary, 24; Casey, 23; Floyd, 21.7; Simpson, 21.5; Mason, 20.9; Bath, 20.6; Lawrence, 20.5; Allen, 20.1, and Logan, 20.
All those counties are in Appalachia, or border other states where the recent trajectory of the pandemic has not been as favorable as in Kentucky. The Times published a geographic chart of the states (above) showing their new-case rates since Feb. 1 and highlighting the increase since their lowest point of 2021.
The state added nine fatalities to its list of Covid-19 deaths, making the toll 6,223. Four were from regular health-department reports and five from the ongoing audit of death certificates. One deaths in the regular report was listed as occurring in December, before four of the five in the audit report.
The audit fatalities were a 65-year-old Jefferson County woman, on Nov. 17; a Christian County woman, 52, on Dec. 28; a Daviess County man, 91, Jan. 1; a Calloway County woman, 83, Jan. 8; and a Shelby County man, 86, Jan. 12.
The regularly reported fatalities were a Boyle County man, 75, Dec. 9; a Marion County woman, 86, Feb. 15; a Boyd County man, 73, April 6; and an Allen County woman, 80, April 7.
In other pandemic news Friday:
  • Counties with 10 or more new cases were Jefferson, 168; Fayette, 54; Christian, 25; Kenton, 21; McCracken, 18; Warren, 18; Boone, 16; Scott, 15; Daviess, 14; Campbell, 12; Pike, 12; Pulaski, 11; and Franklin, Greenup, Hardin and Nelson, 10.
  • Kentucky hospitals reported 382 Covid-19 patients, five more than Thursday, with 106 of them in intensive care (up four) and 60 of those on ventilators (up seven).
  • The University of Kentucky announced that it had administered its 200,000th dose of coronavirus vaccine and was offering students, and those newly admitted for the fall semester, their choice of the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. It said about 80% of faculty and 70% of staff had been vaccinated or were in the process of being vaccinated.
  • Nursing homes would have to tell the CDC how many of their health-care workers have been fully vaccinated against the virus, under a proposed rule released Thursday, and the data would be public on a quarterly basis. Such reporting is now voluntary.
  • “Appointees in the Department of Health and Human Services last year privately touted their efforts to block or alter scientists’ reports on the coronavirus to more closely align with then-President Donald Trump’s more optimistic messages about the outbreak, according to newly released documents from congressional investigators,” The Washington Post reports.
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