People under 18 made up about 19% of new virus cases in Kentucky Wednesday as Pfizer vaccine OKd for children 12 to 17

County-level map of Kentucky showing rates of new coronavirus cases in the past seven days

State Dept. for Public Health map, relabeled by Kentucky Health News; to enlarge, click on it.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been approved for older children, and the move seems timely in Kentucky, with more than 19 percent of the state’s new cases in people 18 and younger.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 680 new cases of the virus Wednesday, lowering the state’s seven-day rolling average by four, to 520. Of those, 132, or 19.4%, were in people 18 and under.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved use of the Pfizer vaccine in children as young as 12, effective immediately. The vaccine has been authorized for people 16 and older since December.

The late-afternoon move prompted Beshear to issue a press release in which he said, “Starting tomorrow, more Kentuckians will have the opportunity to receive a Covid-19 vaccine and further protect themselves and those around them from this dangerous virus. We’ve seen new Covid-19 cases decline as more and more vaccines have been administered. Now, many Kentucky children and young teens have a chance to roll up their sleeves and become heroes for their communities by receiving their shot of hope.”

Citing a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the release said about 231,000 Kentuckians are in the 12-15 age group. That’s approximately 5% of the state’s population.

Beshear’s office announced Tuesday that he would no longer issue regular pandemic press releases on days he does not hold news conferences, about two days a week. The number of new cases and the positive-test rate are posted on social media and the daily report on the Department for Public Health website.

Most measures of the pandemic in Kentucky declined slightly Wednesday. The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days is 3.08%, down for the seventh consecutive day.

The state rate of new cases in the last seven days is 9.52 per 100,000 residents, down for the eighth straight day. The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s rate 24th among the states, with a 7% drop in the last 14 days.

Counties with new-case rates double the statewide rate are Powell, 42.8 per 100,000; Montgomery, 36.5; Rockcastle, 35.1; Webster, 29.8; Estill, 27.3; Lewis, 24.8; Bath, 21.7; Fulton, 21.5; Owen, 21; Fleming, 20.6; Hickman,19.6; Casey, 19.4; and Taylor, 19.4.

So far, 1,898,937 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine in Kentucky, or 43% of the state’s total population. Go to to find a Covid-19 vaccination site.

Last week’s State Profile Report for Kentucky showed that about 1.5 million Kentuckians were fully vaccinated, or nearly 34% of the total population.

The state’s vaccine dashboard highlights the top and bottom counties for percentage of population with at least one dose. The top five are Woodford, 56%; Franklin, 56%; Fayette, 53%; Scott, 47%, and Campbell, 46%. The bottom five are Spencer, 18%; Christian, 18%; Ballard, 19%; Lewis, 20%, and McCreary, 20%.

The state reported 10 more Covid-19 deaths, nine from usual health-department reports and one from an ongoing audit of death certificates. The 14-day death average remains 9.29 per day. Kentucky’s Covid-19 death toll is 6,630.

The state’s daily Covid-19 report lists the number and source of death reports, but not a list of fatalities by age, sex, county and date of death. That was included in the daily press releases that have been discontinued.

Kentucky hospitals reported 425 Covid-19 patients, 10 more than Tuesday, with 105 of them in intensive care (down 4), and 50 of those (down 1) on ventilators.

Two of the state’s 10 hospital-readiness regions are using at least 80% of their intensive-care beds: the easternmost region, from Lee to Pike counties, 83%; and Lake Cumberland, 87%.

Counties with 10 or more new cases reported Wednesday were Jefferson, 127; Fayette, 36; Pulaski, 32; Kenton, 31; Warren, 26; Boone, 22; Daviess, 19; Henderson, 15; Grant, 14; Campbell, Hardin, McCracken and Scott, 13; Lincoln, Madison, Montgomery and Shelby, 11; and Oldham, 10.

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