In a big way, Kentucky sets another Covid-19 new-case record, more than 13,000, and the highest positive-test rate yet, 28.61%

Ky. Health News graph; cases are from initial, unadjusted daily reports. To enlarge, click on it.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
As the Omicron variant of the coronavirus sweeps through Kentucky, the state broke its recently set new-case record by more than 2,000, and the positive-test rate and hospitalizations — a key metric to determine the effect on a community — continue to inch up.
“Omicron is getting worse here in the commonwealth,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a Facebook video. “Please get vaccinated. Get your booster. Don’t put the booster off. Wear a mask. This thing is spreading like wildfire. Protect yourself and those around you.”

Kentucky reported 13,492 new cases Friday, far exceeding Wednesday’s record of 11,232. That brought the seven-day rolling average to 8,639, which is 342, or 4.1%, more than Thursday. It has more than doubled in the last 12 days, and risen 24% since last Friday. Of today’s cases, 24.5% were in people 18 and younger.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days also hit another all-time high, 28.61%.

Lexington Herald-Leader graph, part of a package; click to enlarge

As case counts and positive-test rates become less indicative, because so many people are using unreported home Covid-19 tests, and Omicron case counts shattering all previous records, health officials say better metrics for the disease’s effect on a community are Covid-19 hospitalizations and Covid-19 deaths, the Pew Charitable Trusts reports. Beshear has alluded to a need to focus more on these metrics for several weeks.

Kentucky hospitals reported 2,126 Covid-19 patients Friday, 28 more than Thursday, with 466 in intensive care (up 7) ; and 226 on mechanical ventilation (down 11). Hospitalizations have risen 14.5% in the last week.
Nine of the state’s 10 hospital-readiness regions are using at least 80% of their intensive care unit capacity, and five of them are above 90%. Northern Kentucky us at 100% and Barren River is at 98%.

The state’s seven-day Covid-19 infection rate is 180.72 daily cases per 100,000 patients. All 120 counties are red on the state incidence map; the color represents more than 25 daily cases per 100,000 people, considered a high level of transmission.

Despite the significant increases in Kentucky, the pandemic is even hotter in other states. The New York Timesusing Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention data, ranks Kentucky’s rate 40th among the states, down nine slots from Thursday, with a 171% increase in new cases over the last 14 days.

The state reported 35 more Covid-19 deaths, bringing the pandemic death toll in Kentucky to 12,518.

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