Pandemic numbers nearing levels seen before Omicron variant hit

Kentucky Health News graph from weekly state reports

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

The pandemic in Kentucky has declined to levels not seen since early last summer, when numbers bottomed out just before the surge of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus drove them to record levels.

From last Monday through Sunday, the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus was 2.29 percent, less than half the 5% level at which public-health officials say poses the risk of widespread outbreaks.

Since March 7, when the state started issuing weekly instead of daily reports, the rate has declined from 6.04%. The rate was below 2% for 12 days in late June last year, just before Omicron hit.

Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant is becoming widespread and is at least twice as transmissible as the original, but hasn’t been shown to cause worse disease.

The state reported 5,530 new cases during the reporting week, an average of 790 per day, still well above last summer’s low average of 163 in the last week of June 2021.

But the state’s seven-day infection rate fell to 4.82 daily cases per 100,000 residents, not too far above last summer’s low of 3.13 per 100,000.

Hotspots remain. Counties with rates more than double the statewide rate, putting them into double figures, were Cumberland, 21.6 per 100,000; Perry, 16.1; Taylor, 15.5; Trimble, 15.2; Wayne, 14.1; Magoffin, 12.9; Anderson, 12.6; Adair, 11.9; Pike, 11.8; Floyd, 10.8; and Wolfe, 10.

The state’s weekly report said 26 percent of the new cases were in Kentuckians 18 and younger. Generally in Kentucky, the younger someone is, then less likely they are to be vaccinated for Covid-19.

The report said 263 hospital patients had Covid-19, with 50 in intensive care and 25 on mechanical ventilation. The total number of Covid-19 patients is less than the number on intensive care five weeks ago.

One of the more encouraging indicators was a decline in the number of deaths. The state attributed 236 more deaths to Covid-19 last week, just over 33 per day, down from the approximately 40 per day recorded the previous three weeks. The state’s pandemic death toll stands at 14,895.

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