Kentucky’s coronavirus positive-test rate goes above 7%; lack of home tests will make Thanksgiving riskier than it should be

New York Times map, adapted by Ky. Health News; click it to enlarge or here for interactive version.

By Al Cross

Kentucky Health News
The pandemic in Kentucky mostly plateaued Wednesday as the nation began a long holiday weekend offering many more opportunities for the coronavirus to spread, especially among the unvaccinated. And the untested.

“Thanksgiving is bound to cause a spike in America’s covid infections,” says a headline on The Economist‘s website. The subhead on the story: “Blame resistance to getting jabbed and a lack of home testing,” which could have made Thanksgiving gatherings safer.

“We need to flood the system with testing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News.
The Economist reports, “These kits are still hard to come by in local pharmacies, and they are costly. The Quidel QuickVue test is priced at $23.99 on Amazon, and the On/Go one at $34.99—and even then they are not available until after the holiday. A family of four would need to spend about $100 or more. By contrast, in Britain the National Health Service allows each person, every day, to order a pack of seven rapid tests free.”
“In other countries, we see it’s become the norm for friends and family to get tested before a party, before dinner, before celebrations,” Leana Wen, former health commissioner of Baltimore, told The Economist. “We need to get to that point in this country.” She said the Food and Drug Administration is “letting perfect be the enemy of the good” with an approval process that is too stringent.
On Wednesday the percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days hit 7.05%, the first time it exceeded 7% in five weeks. It hit a low of 4.98% on Oct 31; the high was 14.16% on Sept. 8.
The state reported 2,144 new cases of the virus, two more than Tuesday but lowering the seven-day rolling average by 7, to 1,733 per day. Almost 26 percent of the new cases were in Kentuckians 18 and younger.
The state’s seven-day infection rate ticked up slightly, from an average of 32.49 daily cases per 100,000 residents on Tuesday to a 32.62 average on Wednesday. Counties with rates more than double that rate were Robertson, 94.9; Powell, 92.5; Carroll, 72.6; Magoffin, 70.5; Harlan, 69.2; and Breckinridge, 67.
Kentucky hospitals reported 818 Covid-19 patients, 17 fewer than Tuesday, with 204 of them in intensive care (down 13) and 107 on mechanical ventilation (up 9). Eight of the 10 hospital regions had more than 80% of their intensive-care beds occupied, led by Lake Cumberland at 96%, with Covid patients in 16%.
The state reported 35 more Covid-19 deaths, raising Kentucky’s pandemic death toll to 10,795.
Over the last 14 days, the state’s new-case average has gone up 29%, more than the national gain of 25%, but its national ranking has gone down slightly, to 28th, because of steeper increases in other states, mainly to the north, where the weather has been colder and people are spending more time indoors.
So says The New York Times, which has changed its method of calculating averages to eliminate days on which states don’t report cases, such as holiday weekends. Kentucky’s next report will come Monday.
“The previous method displayed the average of the day and the previous six days of data,” the Times explains. “In the new method, if the seven-day window includes days with no data reported, the period is extended to older days until it includes seven days of reported data.”

UPDATE: Gov. Andy Beshear said on Facebook, “As we sit down at our Thanksgiving meals tomorrow, remember there are folks across the commonwealth with empty seats at the table because of this virus. Tonight, let’s show compassion and light our homes green. We must never forget we’re in this together.”

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