Kentucky’s 7-day average of daily new coronavirus cases is below 500 for first time in 10 months; positive-test rate keeps falling

Map of Kentucky showing daily new coronavirus cases by county over the past seven days

State Dept. for Public Health map, relabeled by Ky. Health News; for a larger version, click on it.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Kentucky’s seven-day average of new coronavirus cases dropped below 500 Thursday, for the first time in 10 months, and its positive-test rate is among the lowest since testing became widely available.

The state reported 575 new cases, with 23% (133) in people 18 and under. The seven-day average for cases is 489. The last time it was under 500 was July 18, at 447; the next day, 979 new cases raised it by 100. That was the start of a long-term increase that peaked in January; the seven-day average on Jan. 12 was 4,002.

Nationwide, the seven-day average for cases is also on a decline. It was 30,206 on May 19, according to The New York Times.

The rate of new cases over the last seven days was 8.05 per 100,000 people,. Each day since May 6, the rate has dropped to the lowest since the state began reporting it in December. The Times says Kentucky’s rate is 18th in the nation but its new-case numbers have dropped 29% in the last 14 days.

Rockcastle, Owen and Webster counties, with more than 25 cases per 100,000, are the only Kentucky counties that remain in the red zone, which is considered a “critical” level. Other counties with rates more than double the statewide rate were Adair, 23.1; Union, 21.9; Henderson, 19.9; Grayson, 18.4; Bourbon, 17.3; Taylor, 17.2; Knox, 16.5; Estill, 16.2; Powell, 16.2; Lewis, 16.1; and Gallatin, 16.1.
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus is 2.70%, the lowest it’s been in the past seven days and among the lowest since testing became widely available in May.

Kentucky hospitals reported 357 Covid-19 patients, the lowest number since April 5; 104 of them were in intensive care, and 44 of those were on a ventilator. Only one hospital readiness region is using at least 80% of its intensive care unit beds: Lake Cumberland, at 93%. The state’s daily report shows 20% of those beds are being used by Covid-19 patients.

The state reported 15 more Covid-19 deaths, 13 of them from health department reports and two of them from an ongoing audit of death certificates.

The state’s vaccine dashboard shows 1,945,674 Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a vaccine. That’s 44% of the state’s population and 55% of its adult population. The leading counties are Woodford, 58%; Franklin, 57%; Fayette, 55%; Scott, 49%; and Campbell, 48%. The lowest are Christian and Spencer, 18%; Ballard, 20%; and McCreary and Lewis, 21%.

The Christian County Health Department is starting off-site vaccination clinics, Hoptown Chronicle reports. Go to to find a vaccine site anywhere.

In other pandemic news Thursday:

  • Counties with 10 or more new cases were Jefferson, 147; Fayette, 22; Boone, 21; Kenton, 19; Campbell, 17; Johnson, 15; Laurel and Pulaski, 13; Clark, 12; Adair and Floyd, 11; and McCracken, 10.
  • The geographic gaps in vaccination rates worry public-health experts. “Low vaccination rates will leave room for the virus to circulate, re-emerge and possibly form new variants” that could be more contagious and/or more deadly, Tara Kirk Sell, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Securitytold The Associated Press. “High vaccination rates are critical to keeping the disease under control, especially when we get back to the fall and winter.”
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