As Covid-19 numbers remain high but steady, hospital numbers keep creeping up 2% a day; deaths are up 75% in the last month

Cabinet for Health and Family Services graph, adapted by Ky. Health News; click on it to enlarge.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Most of Kentucky’s coronavirus numbers continue to hover in the high range, but Covid-19 hospitalizations keep creeping up about 2 percent a day. In the last month, hospital cases are up 73% and reported deaths are up 75%.

Kentucky hospitals reported 1,192 Covid-19 cases Friday, 25 more than Thursday, with 319 in intensive care, an increase of five; and 191 on mechanical ventilation, up six.

Eight of the state’s 10 hospital-readiness regions are using more than 80% of their intensive-care beds, with six of above 90%. Northern Kentucky reported its beds at 100% capacity for the second day in a row.

The state added 63 more Covid-19 deaths to its death toll, which is now 11,542. Over the past 14 days, the state has reported more than 49 deaths per day. A month ago, the 14-day average was only 28.

Deaths are lagging indicators of a pandemic; Kentucky’s leading indicators have declined slightly for the last three days. The state reported 2,773 new coronavirus cases Friday, lowering the seven-day rolling average by five, to 2,309. The average has dropped from 2,369 on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days also went down for the third consecutive day, to 8.97%.

The state’s seven-day infection rate likewise fell for the third day, to 45.76 daily cases per 100,000 residents. Counties with rates more than double that rate were Menifee, 151.9; McLean, 102.4; Union, 100.3; Owen, 99.6; and Lewis, 99.

The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s infection rate 20th among the states, though its cases have increased 80% in the past two weeks. Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and North Carolina are the only states with a greater rate of increase in the past two weeks.

Only 12 of Kentucky’s 120 counties were not in the red on the state infection map, indicating a high level of virus transmission.

Barbourville Independent Schools will extend their holiday break and do non-traditional instruction next week, WKYT reports, noting that the system does not require masks to be worn. Knox County, which contains the district, has the eighth highest rate in Kentucky, 81.6 daily cases per 100,000 residents. WKYT said it had asked the county school system for its plans and had received no reply.

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