Pandemic metrics, still tilting down, pass more milestones

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; click on it to enlarge.

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Measures of the pandemic passed more milestones in Kentucky Wednesday.

The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus fell to 2.4%, the lowest level since testing for the virus became widely available just over a year ago.

The state reported 440 new cases of the virus, lowering the seven-day rolling average to 434 per day. It hasn’t been that low since July 17, and has dropped for nine consecutive days. In the last 14 days, the daily average has dropped 22%, according to The New York Times.

The statewide rate of daily new cases fell to the lowest level since the state began reporting it in December: 6.66 cases per 100,000 residents. The Times says the rate is 16th among the states.

Counties with rates more than double the statewide rate were Webster, 33.1; Owen, 27.5; Union, 22.8, Adair, 20.8; Robertson, 20.3; Bath, 19.4; Montgomery, 18.3; Gallatin, 17.7; Harlan, 17.6; Rockcastle, 17.1; Whitley, 16.2; Laurel, 14.8; Powell, 13.9; Bourbon, 13.7; and Knox, 13.3.

Kentucky hospitals reported 349 Covid-19 patients, 109 of them in intensive care and 50 of those on ventilators. Those figures have also trended downward; the average hospital count in the past seven days has been 352; in the previous week it was 397, so the latest weekly average was a drop of 11.3 percent.

Two hospital regions reported more than 80% of intensive-care beds in use: Lake Cumberland, 91%, and the easternmost region, from Lee to Pike counties, 82%. In the former region, 22% of ICU beds had Covid-19 patients; in the latter, only 6% did, about average for the state other than Lake Cumberland.

The state reported 19 more Covid-19 deaths, 16 from regular health-department reports and three from an ongoing audit of death certificates. Over the last two weeks, the state has averaged 7.3 deaths per day; in the previous two weeks, it was 9.3. The state’s Covid-19 death toll is 6,744.

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