Ky. coronavirus cases and deaths are up, but so are vaccinations

Washington Post map, adapted by Kentucky Health News, shows vaccination rates in Kentucky and nearby states. For the state’s interactive map showing vaccinations in Kentucky counties, click here.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Coronavirus case numbers and Covid-19 deaths surged in Kentucky Tuesday, but the percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days and the state’s hospital numbers dropped.

Kentucky reported 4,551 new cases Tuesday, raising the seven-day average to 3,553. That was 166, or 5.2 percent, higher than Monday. Thirty-two percent of the cases, or 1,465, were in people 18 and younger.

However, the percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last week dropped for the 20th straight day, to 10.40%.

The state reported 56 more Covid-19 deaths, making Tuesday the seventh deadliest day of the pandemic. The Louisville Courier Journal tells the story of Johnson Central High School‘s football head coach, Jim Matney, who died Tuesday after a month-long battle with the disease. The state’s death toll is 8,635. In the last seven days the state has averaged 38 deaths per day.

Hospital numbers dropped again Tuesday. Kentucky hospitals reported 2,006 Covid-19 patients, down 39 from Monday; 588 in intensive care, down 29; and 395 on mechanical ventilation, down four.

Six of the state’s 10 hospital regions are using more than 80% of their intensive-care beds, with two of them at 100%: Northern Kentucky and Barren River, which includes Bowling Green and Glasgow.

Kentucky’s infection rate over the last seven days dropped a slot in national rankings, to sixth among the states and territories, just behind Guam and just ahead of Idaho, The New York Times reports.

The state reported an infection rate of 65.95 daily cases per 100,000 residents. Counties with more than double that rate are Whitley, 154; Letcher, 152.4; Magoffin, 151.5; McCreary, 140.1; and Harlan, 129.1.

Kentucky’s daily vaccination average rose 37% last week, ranking it second in the nation, behind Ohio, which saw a 55% increase after starting a new sweepstakes drawing for people aged 12 to 25 who get a shot. Gov. Andy Beshear expressed doubt Monday that such incentives would persuade unvaccinated Kentuckians.

Sixty percent of the state’s total population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, which is 24th among the states. That includes 73% of Kentuckians18 and older and 47% aged 12 to 17. Over 2.7 million Kentuckians have received at least one shot. Kentucky’s fully-vaccinated share, 52%, is 26th among the states.

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