Fourth highest day of new cases; 49 deaths make average nearly 30 per day; two hospital regions report all intensive-care beds full

For the first time, more than one hospital-readiness region reported all its intensive-care beds full. Regions in white have fewer than 80% of their ICU beds occupied. (State chart; click to enlarge)

By Al Cross

Kentucky Health News
Kentucky reported 5,398 new cases of the coronavirus Wednesday, the fourth largest daily total of the pandemic, turning the trend of the pandemic upward after a plateau last week. The seven-day average of new cases is 4,269, just 2.9 percent less than the record average of 4,398 recorded Sept. 5.
The state also reported 49 more Covid-19 deaths. Over the last week, Kentucky is averaging almost 30 such deaths per day; a month ago, it was nine per day. The state’s Covid-19 death toll is 8,144.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re healthy. It doesn’t matter if you’re younger. This could come for you,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a Facebook video. He noted deaths of people aged 32, 33, 37, 38 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 50 and 53.
“This is incredibly deadly right now, and we have to blunt this spread,” Beshear said. “So please, do your part” by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated.
Among the states, Kentucky’s daily infection rate over the last seven days ranked fourth, according to The New York Times, and fifth according to The Washington Post. The Times has West Virginia first, followed by Tennessee and Wyoming; the Post puts Tennessee first and South Carolina fourth.
The state reported its infection rate to be 87.11 per 100,000 residents, up from 80.81 four days ago. The high of 91.55 was reported Sept. 4. Counties with rates more than double the state’s current rate are Whitley, 206.8; Monroe, 205.2; Powell, 198.8; Perry, 193; Rockcastle, 191.7; and Knox, 182.6.
The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days dropped for the seventh day in a row, to 13.02%, but Beshear has said that could be the result of more testing.
Kentucky hospitals reported 21 fewer Covid-19 patients Wednesday, but that drop was less than 1 percent of the new total of 2,493. The number of Covid patients in intensive care on the daily report declined by 18, to 648, but the number on mechanical ventilation went up by six, to 436.
The Lake Cumberland and Northern Kentucky hospital-readiness regions reported all their intensive-care beds in use, with 52% of them in the Lake Cumberland region occupied by Covid-19 patients. This was the first day more than one of the 10 regions had no intensive-care beds available.
The Lake Cumberland region is Adair, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Green, McCreary, Pulaski, Russell, Taylor and Wayne counties; the Northern Kentucky region is Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Owen and Pendleton counties.
Vaccinations in Kentucky, after picking up in the first two months of the surge caused by the Delta variant of the virus, have settled back into a rough plateau the last two weeks.
Chart by The Washington Post, adapted by Kentucky Health News
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