Pandemic numbers in Kentucky keep going the wrong way

Picture of a coronavirus. Text: Covid-19 update

By Al Cross and Melissa Patrick

Kentucky Health News
The major measures of the coronavirus in Kentucky went the wrong way Tuesday.
The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days rose to 3.2%, the highest since March 19. It has risen four days in a row. The rise in this a leading indicator suggests case numbers could keep increasing as they have been in other states.
The state reported 799 new cases Tuesday, spiking the seven-day rolling average of new cases to 622 per day, an increase of 65 (12 percent) over Monday. The average has risen three days in a row and is now where it was nine days ago.
The seven-day average of daily new cases also rose again, to 11.16 per 100,000 residents. Kentucky’s rate was ranked 35th in The New York Times data tracker. On Monday, it was 36th.
Counties with rates more than double the statewide rate were Harlan, 39.5; Bath, 36.6; Bracken, 34.4; Powell, 32.4; Lewis, 29.1; Robertson, 27.1; Wolfe, 25.9; Allen, 24.8; Simpson, 23.8; and Morgan, 23.6.
Counties with more than 10 new cases on the state’s daily report were Jefferson, 135; Fayette, 45; Warren, 37; Kenton, 30; Christian, 29; Boone, 20; Daviess, 20; Jessamine, 19; Whitley, 19; Laurel, 16; Breckinridge, Madison and Nelson, 13; and McCracken, Marshall, Ohio and Todd, 11.
Hospitalizations for Covid-19 also increased, to 405, up 25 from Monday, but the number of Covid-19 patients who were in intensive care fell by eight, to 96; those on ventilators fell by one, to 53. None of the hospital readiness regions are using 80% or more of their intensive-care beds or total beds.

Gov. Andy Beshear warned Monday that Kentuckians need to do what it takes to ward off a likely rise in cases, as has happened every other time the state has been in a plateau, as it is now.

The way to do that, he said, is to get vaccinated. That advice became a bit complicated on Tuesday after federal experts asked states to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports of blood clots in six of the 6.8 million people who have received it. Kentucky did that.

“Everyone should still get one of the other two Covid-19 vaccines during this pause,” Beshear said in a news release. “We cannot let this slow us down. The United States is going to get about 1.85 million more doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week. We should be able to make up any loss of appointments. Stay calm – it looks like the risk here from the J&J vaccine is very, very small versus the really significant risk of being harmed by Covid.”

The state added four more deaths to its list of Covid-19 fatalities, for a total of 6,261. Three were from regular health-department reports and one was from the ongoing audit of death certificates.
The regularly reported fatalities, all in April, were a Boone County man, 62; a Henderson County woman, 62; and a Webster County man, 51. The audit death was a Jefferson County man, 84, in November.
The daily report for long-term-care facilities shows five new cases among residents and 12 among employees, bringing the active case numbers up to 46 and 73, respectively.
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