The pandemic isn’t over: Virus activity in Kentucky is picking up as the more contagious Delta variant spreads across the country
|Kentucky Health News graph, based on initial, unadjusted daily case reports|
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News
After three weeks of pretty steady decline, coronavirus activity in Kentucky is picking up a little.
The state reported 244 new cases of the virus Tuesday, the most in almost two weeks, and that raised the seven-day rolling average to 168 cases per day. Except two days when the average rose by one case, it had declined every day for three weeks.
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus is also increasing slightly. Over the last seven days, it has been 1.88 percent; that 7-day figure has risen the last four days, after bottoming at 1.79% last Friday.
Health experts have voiced concern that vaccinations are slowing as a more contagious variant of the virus is spreading and is expected to become dominant in the United States. “The delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate Covid-19,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
In Kentucky in the last seven days, an average of 10,235 people per day have been vaccinated for the virus. That’s well below the approximately 18,000 in mid-May and far below the 40,000 in mid-April. Of the state’s eligible population, those 12 and older, 58% have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Among the total population, it’s 49.4%, and the fully vaccinated share is 43.4%.
The Delta variant has hospitalized many younger people in rural areas of some other states, including Missouri. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 ticked up in Kentucky on Tuesday, reaching 176 after a year-long low of 169 the day before. Daily Covid-19 hospitalizations dropped below 400 in mid-May, below 300 in early June and below 200 about a week ago.
The state’s seven-day infection rate rose Monday and Tuesday, the first two-day increase in just over two weeks. The rate is now 3.28 per 100,000 residents; counties with rates more than double the state rate are Caldwell, 15.7; Elliott, 15.2; Gallatin, 14.5; Hopkins, 13.4; Webster, 12.1; Wolfe, 12; Anderson, 11.3; Pike, 10.1; Logan, 9; Perry, 8.9; Graves, 8.8; Bracken, 8.6; Owen, 7.9; Nicholas, 7.9; Greenup, 7.7; Simpson, 7.7; Mason, 7.5; and Bell, 6.6.
The state reported five Covid-19 deaths Tuesday, the most in two weeks, for a total of 7,217. The 7-day and 14-day death averages are both 3.3 per day; the latter average is the lowest in many months. Deaths are the most lagging indicator of a pandemic.