Positive-test rate, Covid-19 hospitalizations and ICU use in Ky. hit new highs; infection rate goes down but is third highest in nation

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

The bad news is that Kentucky set another record for the percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the disease and for the number of Kentuckians in the hospital and intensive care with Covid-19. The good news is that the infection rate has dropped for four days in a row; but it is still one of the nation’s highest.

“It’s Wednesday and another tough day on the Covid front,” Gov. Andy Beshear said on Facebook.

After inching down for three days, the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus has risen for te last five and is now a record 14.16% — the first time above 14%.

Kentucky hospitals reported a record 2,424 Covid-19 patients, an increase of 71 from Tuesday and one of the largest one-day gains since the surge began. The state also has a record number of patients in intensive care, 674, and 431 on mechanical ventilation.

All but two of the state’s two hospital-readiness regions are using at least 89% of their intensive-care beds; they are the far-west region and the northeast region.

Beshear reported 4,468 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, with 1,220, or 27%, of them in Kentuckians 18 or younger. That raised the seven-day rolling average by 23, to 4,096 cases per day, 302 below the record seven-day average of 4,398 that was set Sunday.

The state’s new-case rate, the average of daily new cases for the last seven days, went down for the fourth straight day, to 83.1 cases per 100,000 residents. Counties with rates more than double that rate are Perry, 220.2; Clay, 203.9; Rockcastle, 185.7; Leslie, 183.7; Bell, 180; Russell, 178.5; Whitley, 176.9; and Metcalfe, 168.8.

According to The New York Times, the state’s infection rate is third in the nation, trailing Tennessee and South Carolina. The newspaper says Perry County has the nation’s highest infection rate. Clay ranks seventh.

The state reported 30 new Covid-19 deaths, bringing the pandemic death toll to 7,935. Beshear said one of those deaths was a 15-year-old from Shelby County, and two from Jefferson County were 30 and 47.

“No matter what age you are, this thing is deadly and it’s out there,” Beshear said. “You need to get vaccinated. You need to wear your mask. Folks, if you have been vaccinated, continue to wear your mask. It’s our job to protect one another, those around us, to be our brothers and sisters keeper and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Let’s do the right thing. Vaccinations and masking are our two best tools to defeat this virus.”

Statewide, 70% of those 18 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, 68% of the eligible population (12 and older) have had at least one, and 58% of the total population has at least one.

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