Most Ky. Covid-19 metrics remain stable, but deaths are up

Kentucky Health News chart showing Covid-19 deaths in Kentucky by date of report for the last six months

Ky. Health News graph; does not include deaths found by death-certificate audit; click it to enlarge.

By Melissa Patrick

Kentucky Health News
Most of the metrics used to measure the coronavirus remain on a plateau in Kentucky, but with 23 deaths reported on Tuesday, it is clear that the virus remains deadly for some.
Health Commissioner Steven Stack emphasized that point at Gov. Andy Beshear’s news briefing Monday, saying several times that “Covid is a bad disease” and begging Kentuckians to get vaccinated.
So far, 1,882,396 people have gotten at least one shot of a vaccine in Kentucky, amounting to 53% of Kentuckians 18 and older and 42% of the state’s population.

“No matter where you are in the state, you can sign up for a Covid-19 vaccine near where you live or work,” Beshear said in a news release. “Now, when you get a shot of hope at many Kroger or Walmart locations, you can even earn a free shot at winning the lottery. It’s easier than ever.”

Soon, children between the ages of 12 and 15 can also get the vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for this age group, and awaits final approval from a federal advisory committee Wednesday. Go to to find a Covid-19 vaccination site.

Cassie Prather, director of the Woodford County Health Department, told WKYT that adolescent cases are 20 percent of their total now, up from 3 percent, and she worries that youth are Petri dishes for more contagious variants. Statewide, nearly 18% of Tuesday’s cases, 136, were in people 18 and younger.

Daily numbers: Beshear reported 758 new cases of the virus Tuesday, bringing the seven-day rolling average to 524, down two from Monday.
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days is 3.15%. This average has been under 4% for two months.
The state’s daily rate of new cases over the last seven days is 9.89 per 100,000 residents, falling below 10 for the first time since April 9. This rate has dropped 13.6% in the last week, from 11.47 on May 4.
Counties with rates more than double the statewide rate are Powell, 50.9; Montgomery, 45.2; Rockcastle, 31.7; Webster, 27.6; Owen, 27.5; Lewis, 26.9; Bath, 26.3; Estill, 23.3; Mason, 22.6; Fleming, 20.6; Taylor, 20.5; Union, 19.9; and Menifee, 19.8.
The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s rate 24th among the states, with a 1% increase in cases over the last 14 days. Only six other states, including Indiana at 3%, have seen increases over that period. Louisiana and Arkansas lead at 15% and 13%, respectively.
The state reported 23 more deaths from the virus, all of them from regularly reported health department reports. This is the most deaths reported in one day since March 28, when 27 were reported. These numbers vary widely because of how health departments report them. The 14-day death average is 9.29 deaths per day; on April 30, it hit a recent low of seven per day. Kentucky’s death toll from the disease is now 6,620.
Kentucky hospitals reported 415 Covid-19 patients, 109 of them in intensive care and 51 of those on a ventilator. The latter numbers were the same as Monday; Covid-19 hospitalizations were up by 11.
Among the state’s 10 hospital-readiness regions, the only one using at least 80% of its intensive-care-unit capacity is the easternmost region, from Lee to Pike counties, at 81.6%.
Starting Wednesday, May 12, the daily Covid-19 report will be posted daily on Beshear’s social media channels around 5 p.m., instead of being posted in a news release. A full release will be sent on days that the governor holds a Covid-19 press conference. Recently he has done those two days a week.

In other pandemic news Tuesday:

  • Counties with 10 or more new cases were Jefferson, 93; Fayette, 51; Boone, 45; Campbell, 28; Taylor, 24; Pulaski, 23; Kenton, 21; Bullitt, 20; Warren, 19; Pike, 16; Shelby, 15; McCracken, Mercer and Oldham, 14; Christian and Madison, 13; Rockcastle and Webster, 12; Breathitt, Hopkins, Jessamine and Lewis, 11; and Hardin, 10.
  • Tuesday’s fatalities were an Anderson County man, 64; a Barren County woman, 42; a Bullitt County man, 68; a Carter County man, 101; a Daviess County man, 94; a Fayette County man, 59; a Grant County woman, 92; a Graves County woman, 84; a Henderson County woman, 90; two Jefferson County women, 95, 97; a Lawrence County woman, 87; a Letcher County man, 79; a McCracken County woman, 92; a McCracken County man, 55; a Menifee County woman, 90; a Monroe County woman, 70; a Muhlenberg County woman, 96; a Rockcastle County man, 62; a Simpson County woman, 59; a Taylor County woman, 74; a Wayne County woman, 71; and a Whitley County woman, 57.
  • States will get no Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week because of production problems, federal officials told governors in a private call, Politico reports.
  • Some people have found they prefer to wear masks, for a variety of reasons, Julia Carrie Wong writes for The Guardian. They include anonymity, hiding their ethnicity, avoiding unwelcome attention, simpler dealing with customers, and just feeling free to not smile.
  • Katie Camero of McClatchy News answers two questions about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and children, including: Is the shot for teens different than those given to adults?  And how well does the Pfizer vaccine protect children? The article also provides a video that walks through how the FDA and CDC authorize vaccines for children.
  • “In The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Tuesday, 64% of respondents said they have gotten a Covid-19 vaccine and 35% said they haven’t. Of the respondents who haven’t gotten a shot, 61% said they wouldn’t get a Covid vaccine, with 34% saying they would “definitely” not get a shot and 27% said they “probably” wouldn’t,” Summer Lin reports for McClatchy. The poll also found fewer of the respondents in this poll were willing to get a vaccine than in the last one, taken in March, 61% and 43% respectively.
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