Positive-test rate, 7-day new-case average set new records in Kentucky; more than one-fourth of new cases are in children

Ky. Health News graph; cases are from initial, unadjusted state reports. (Click on it to enlarge.)

Kentucky Health News graph; click to enlarge.

By Melissa Patrick

Kentucky Health News

The Omicron variant continues to rage through Kentucky, with nearly one in three Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus and 26 percent of Wednesday’s new cases among those 18 and younger.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days rose about half a percentage point Wednesday to 30.77%, a new record.

Kentucky reported 12,583 new cases of the coronavirus, the third most on a single day. That raised the seven-day rolling average by nearly 200 daily cases to another record, 10,765. It’s 88% higher than it was 14 days ago.

More than a fourth of new cases, 3,320 (26.4%), were in Kentuckians 18 and younger.

As cases among Kentucky’s children increase, there’s still a lot of opportunity to get more of them vaccinated. Only 50% of 16- and 17-year-olds, 47% of those 12 to 15, and 19% of those 5 to 11 have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. And research shows that immunity against Omicron requires three doses, including a booster shot, of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

The latest American Academy of Pediatrics weekly Covid-19 report says that Covid-19 cases among children have “spiked dramatically” across the United States, with nearly 1 million cases reported in the week ended Jan. 13, four times the rate of the peak of last winter’s surge.

“This number is a 69% increase over the 580,000 added cases reported the week ending January 6th and a tripling of case counts from the two weeks prior,” says the report.

Recent guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated Jan. 13, say “high risk sports and activities” should be canceled or held virtually in areas with high levels of coronavirus transmission “unless all participants are fully vaccinated.” High-risk activities include sports that require close contact as well as those that involve “increased exhalation,” like singing, shouting, band or vigorous exercise, especially when conducted indoors.

Bu far, every county in Kentucky has a high level of virus transmission, defined as more than 25 cases per 100,000 residents. The statewide infection rate is 217.3 daily cases per 100,000. Five counties are above 300 cases per 100,000: Carroll, 392.4; Warren, 324.7; Henderson, 317.2; Fayette, 306.2; and Simpson, 302.3.

The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s statewide rate 18th among the states, a jump of 26 slots from Tuesday, when it ranked 44th.

Kentucky hospitals reported 2,256 Covid-19 patients Wednesday, 56 more than Tuesday. Of those, 455 were in intensive care, up 24; and 252 were on mechanical ventilation, up 8.

Nine of the state’s 10 hospital readiness regions continue to use at least 80% of their intensive-care beds, with five of them above 90% and Northern Kentucky at 100%.

The state attributed 25 more deaths to Covid-19, bringing Kentucky’s pandemic death toll to 12, 639.

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