Regions in red are using over 80% of ICU beds. (State table, adapted by Ky. Health News; click to enlarge)
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News
Covid-19 hospitalizations in Kentucky jumped 4 percent from Tuesday to Wednesday, to nearly 2,500, as the state seemed likely to set a new record this week for residents hospitalized with the disease.
The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases reached a new high, 12,462, as the state reported 12,827 new cases Wednesday. However, the state’s infection rate dropped slightly, and now ranks 11th in the nation, rather than second, as it did Tuesday, according to The New York Times
The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days also fell slightly; it is 32.44%, based on 185,522 laboratory tests. The figures do not include at-home tests.
Kentucky hospitals reported 2,497 patients with Covid-19 as of midnight. That was 96 more than 24 hours earlier, one of the biggest jumps ever, and just 44 short of the record 2,541 Covid-19 patients reported on Sept. 10.
However, a smaller share of patients with Covid-19 are in intensive-care units than during the late-summer surge. ICUs reported 474 Covid-19 patients, with 271 on mechanical ventilation; at the high point in September, ICU cases numbered 698, with 448 ventilated.
Hospitals have said they are discovering Covid-19 cases in some people who have been admitted for other reasons, but several hospitals
are limiting or suspending elective surgeries that require an overnight stay, perhaps due more to staffing shortages than the increase in Covid-19 patients.
The state’s daily report showed more ICU capacity than on most recent days, with only three of the 10 hospital readiness regions using more than 90% of their ICU beds. Another six were between 80% and 90%.
The state’s seven-day coronavirus infection rate is 234.7 daily cases per 100,000 residents, slightly less than Tuesday’s 235.9 but still not far from the record 237 set last Friday.
Counties with rates above 300 per 100,000 are Hopkins, 415.3; Muhlenberg, 404.5; McCracken, 396.1; Daviess, 363.5; Powell, 350.2; Henderson, 339.4; Harrison, 329.8; Boyd, 327.5; Whitley, 323.4; Hardin, 322.5; Harlan, 318.6; Spencer, 317.4; McLean, 311.9; Ohio, 311.4; Shelby, 308.9; and Henry, 308.3.
Jefferson County’s rate is 240 per 100,000, just above the state average and Fayette County’s rate is 248.8, but the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department reported 1,040 new cases Wednesday, the first time above 1,000. (The department’s and state’s numbers differ, due to reporting methodologies.)
The state attributed 31 more deaths to Covid-19, raising Kentucky’s pandemic toll to 12,817.
In other pandemic news:
- The Richmond city commission voted 3-2 Tuesday night to offer a $500 vaccination incentive to employees, using federal pandemic relief funds. The city is following the local examples of the Madison County school board and Eastern Kentucky University, reports Taylor Six of the Richmond Register.
- Mercer County schools are again requiring masks, for at least a week, due to an increase in coronavirus cases, Lexington’s WKYT-TV reports. The county’s seven-day infection rate is 279.4 per 100,000 residents.