Kentuckians are increasingly testing positive for the coronavirus; Beshear says that makes vaccination all the more important

Screenshot of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interactive map shows counties in ranges of percentages of population fully vaccinated. Kentucky Health News has added figures for a few counties, all rounded to the nearest whole percentage point except Christian, Pulaski and Pike. 

By Al Cross

Kentucky Health News
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus grew for the fifth straight day Wednesday, increasing concerns that the state’s pandemic plateau is turning into an increase.
The positive-test rate over the last seven days is 3.33 percent, the highest since March 19. It had declined to 2.79% last Friday, but has risen since.

“While not a drastic change, today’s increase in the positivity rate is concerning,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press release. “This is why it’s so important for Kentuckians to help us meet our Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge and reach our 2.5 million vaccine goal. The sooner we meet this goal, the sooner we can lift many restrictions on most venues and businesses.”

Nearly 100 people, led by a group of business owners, rallied outside the governor’s mansion, asking him to lift all restrictions on businesses.

Beshear said more than 1.6 million Kentuckians have been vaccinated, and “We need everyone to help us meet our goal, including those who will directly benefit: for example, bars, restaurants, music venues, funeral homes, retail, event spaces, wedding venues, public pools, grocery stores, country clubs, museums, festivals and distilleries.”

Beshear and health experts have said the state’s vaccination program is in a race with more contagious variants of the virus, one of which has become the dominant strain in the United States.
The state reported 782 new cases of the virus Wednesday. The seven-day rolling average of new cases fell by 35, to 587, but Tuesday’s average was artificially high because of a backlog of cases reported last Wednesday. The average has risen by 62, or 12%, since Saturday.
A more steady rise is being seen in the seven-day average of daily new cases. It is 11.59 per 100,000 residents, a 25 percent increase since falling to 9 per 100,000 last Tuesday. The state climbed two notches, to 33rd among the states, in The New York Times‘ data tracker.
Counties with seven-day rates more than double the statewide rate on the state’s daily report are Bracken, 41.3; Lewis, 38.7; Harlan, 36.2; Bath, 35.4; Powell, 32.4; Wolfe, 27.9; Robertson, 27.1; Allen, 26.8; Martin, 26.8; Simpson, 26.2; Morgan, 25.8; Logan, 23.7; Nicholas, 23.6; and Mason, 23.4.

Counties with more than 10 new cases were Jefferson, 104; Fayette, 53; Warren, 33; Christian, 30; Laurel, 27; Hardin, 25; Boone, 18; Kenton, 17; Pulaski, 14; Henderson, 13; Lewis, 13; Graves, 12; Mason, 12; and Bracken, Campbell, Daviess, Grant, Greenup, Hopkins and Madison, 11.

The state added 24 fatalities to its list of Covid-19 deaths, 14 from regular health-department reports and 10 from the ongoing audit of death certificates. All but two of the audit deaths were from January, and some occurred after some of those reported by health departments, whose reports can be delayed.
The deaths from this month on the daily fatality report were a Christian County man, 65; a Jefferson County man, 62. The March death was a McCracken County man, 60. The February deaths were an Anderson County woman, 78, and a Greenup County woman, 85.
The other regularly reported deaths were in January. They were an Allen County man, 68; a Christian County man, 68; a Fayette County woman, 93; a Harlan County woman, 64; two Jefferson County men, 83 and 86; a Johnson County man, 75; a Mercer County man, 74; and a Whitley County man, 48.
The audit deaths in January were two Fayette County women, 83 and 94; a Fayette County man, 69; a Gallatin County woman, 68; a Hardin County woman, 77; a Hardin County man, 75; a Jefferson County woman, 81; and a Metcalfe County man, 74. Others were a Lee County man, 70, on Christmas Day; and a Jefferson County woman on Oct. 4.
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