Coronavirus cases remain on a high plateau, especially among kids; 70 more deaths listed Fri.; memorial service Sun. at Capitol

Kentucky Health News graph, based on initial state reports

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

As coronavirus cases in Kentucky remain on a high plateau, Kentucky reported 111 more Covid-19 deaths over the last two days, with 70 of them on Friday, the second highest number of deaths reported in one day.

Deaths are a lagging indicator of cases, and state health officials have warned that Covid-related deaths will likely remain high through the end of the year.

The 111 deaths raise the pandemic death toll to 10,214. In the last 14 days, the state has reported an average of 32.1 deaths per day; the seven-day average is 39.4, the highest it’s been since Oct. 5.

On Sunday, Nov. 14, Gov. Andy Beshear  and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman will host a memorial service to honor the Kentuckians who have died from Covid-19. During the service on the Capitol grounds, Beshear will announce the artist who has been selected to create the permanent Covid-19 memorial.

Kentucky reported 1,670 new coronavirus cases Thursday and 1,296 Friday, raising the seven-day average to 1,316 Thursday and lowering it to 1,299 Friday, but that average was still higher than Wednesday’s 1,278.

A daily report was not issued Thursday in observance of Veterans Day. Those numbers were released today.

Of Friday’s new cases, 32% are in people 18 and under. Nationwide, the weekly American Academy of Pediatrics state-level data report warns that “Covid cases among children remain extremely high.” In Kentucky, 20.4% of all cases have been in people under 20, says the report.

Among Kentucky youth, 1% of 5-to-11-year-olds, 43% of  12-to-15-year-olds and 47% of 16- and 17-year-olds have received at least one dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Children under the age of 11 should only get a Pfizer vaccine that comes from an orange-topped vial.  The purple-capped vials are only for people 12 and older. They are not interchangeable. The wrong Covid-19 vaccine dose was given to over 100 children between the ages of 5-11 at a Virginia pharmacy, resulting “in these children receiving a lower dose than recommended,” the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. 

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days is 5.53%, where it has hovered for about a week.

On Friday, Kentucky hospitals reported 703 Covid-19 patients, eight more than Thursday; 193 in intensive care units, up 10; and 102 of them on mechanical ventilation, unchanged.

Eight of the state’s 10 hospital regions are using at least 80% of their intensive-care beds, with four of them over 90%.

The seven-day infection rate is 24.85 daily cases per 100,000 residents.  Counties with double that rate are Powell, 83.2; Breckinridge, 73.3; Harrison, 68.1; and Robertson, 67.8. The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s rate 26th among the states.

On Thursday, the rate almost hit 25 cases per 100,000 (24.95), considered to be a high level of transmission. Kentucky has 51 counties in red on the state Department for Public Health map, for counties with more than 25 daily cases per 100,000 in the last seven days.

So far, 2.6 million Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, or 58% of the total population.

The University of Kentucky said it has taken disciplinary action against 146 students and 24 employees who are not vaccinated and failed to be tested. The employees are on administrative leave without pay, and the students will receive an interim suspension Jan. 9, the first day of the spring semester, UK spokesman Jay Blanton told the Lexington Herald-Leader. About 90% of the university community has been vaccinated, Monica Kast reports.

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