New cases of coronavirus keep falling, but hospitals stay busy

Table by state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, adapted by Kentucky Health News

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Fewer people are getting the coronavirus in Kentucky, and the state’s hospitals have fewer Covid-19 patients, but most of their intensive-care beds remain occupied and the disease continues to kill about 25 Kentuckians a day.

The state reported 1,421 new virus cases Friday, lowering the seven-day average by 29, to 1,138. Thirty percent of the new cases were in Kentuckians 18 and under, a rate that health officials hope will fall as more children get vaccinated against the virus, now that those 5 to 11 can get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The state’s seven-day infection rate fell again, to 21.05 daily cases per 100,000 residents. Three days ago, it was 22.5. Counties with rates more than double the statewide rate were Lee, 54; Powell, 49.7; Jackson, 47.2; Rowan, 46.1; Trimble, 45.5; Martin, 43.4; and Greenup, 42.3. Kentucky’s rate is 24th among the states, according to The New York Times.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days is 5.19%, up from 5.03% on Thursday, but that appears to be a function of fewer tests, since new cases are declining. The latest seven-day period had 76,439 tests; the previous period had 84,673.

Kentucky hospitals reported 726 Covid-19 patients, 39 fewer than Thursday, but the number in intensive care remained at 219. The number on mechanical ventilation fell by 5, to 128.

Eight of the state’s 10 hospital regions reported more than 80% of their intensive-care-unit beds occupied, and four were above 90%. One was the Owensboro-Hopkinsville region, which reported 30% of its ICU beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, by far the highest in the state. Northeastern and southeastern Kentucky had the lowest percentage of ICU beds in use, 60% and 77% respectively.

The state reported 53 more Covid-19 deaths, raising the death toll from the pandemic to 9,939. Reporting of deaths can be delayed due to a confirmation process. Over the last seven days, the state has reported 24.7 deaths per day; the 14-day average is 27.2.

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