CDC: 37 Kentucky counties are at high risk of Covid-19 and 44 at medium risk; many have been at highest risk level for weeks

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map shows estimated risk.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that just over two-thirds of Kentucky counties have an elevated risk of coronavirus transmission, with many of them at high risk for more than three weeks in a row.

Thirty-seven counties are orange on the latest CDC risk map, indicating a high level of risk. That’s down from 43 on last week’s map, but several counties are newly orange.

Forty-four counties are yellow, indicating a medium level of risk. Last week, 35 were yellow.

The rankings are based on new coronavirus cases, hospital admissions and hospital capacity.

Two Kentucky counties have been orange for seven consecutive weeks: Greenup and Boyd. Eight have been orange for five weeks in a row: Lyon, Livingston, Woodford, Fayette, Wolfe, Breathitt, Leslie and Perry. And nine have been orange for three weeks in a row: Hickman, Carlisle, Ballard, Graves,  McCracken, Marshall, Crittenden, Powell and Pike.

Other orange counties are Daviess, Barren, Metcalfe, Cumberland, Pulaski, Boyle, Mercer, Scott, Jessamine, Clark, Letcher, Rowan, Lewis, Carter, Lawrence, Johnson, Martin and Floyd.

Gov. Andy Beshear referred to the orange counties as red at his weekly news conference and encouraged Kentuckians living in these counties to take precautions. “If you are in a red county, you ought to consider what steps you take to protect yourself,” he said. “Certainly we recommend in large public gatherings without significant circulation that people consider wearing a mask and a good mask. But the number one thing you can do, if you’re in a red county to protect yourself is get vaccinated. And if you’re vaccinated get boosted. If you have all that, good, consider wearing the mask.”

Beshear stressed that getting a vaccine booster shot provides a significant amount of protection to you and your family, adding that only about one-third of Kentuckians have been boosted.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map

On the CDC’s map of coronavirus transmission, all but five of the 120 counties are red, indicating a high level of virus transmission. The risk map, with orange indicating the highest range, is the one that Kentucky officials say should be used when deciding on what types of precautions to take to protect yourself and others from the disease.

On the risk map, five counties have been yellow for three weeks in a row: Allen, Anderson, Washington, Taylor and Menifee. Two of them have been on this list for five weeks: Lee and Owsley.

Other yellow counties on this week’s map are Calloway, Hancock, McClean, Ohio, Muhlenberg, Logan, Simpson, Monroe,  Hart, Harlan, Larue, Franklin, Spencer, Nelson, Marion, Adair, Russel, Clinton, Wayne, McCreary, Casey, Lincoln, Garrard, Madison, Estill, Rockcastle, Laurel, Knox, Bell, Harlan, Bracken, Bourbon, Montgomery, Elliott, Morgan, Magoffin, and Knott

In orange counties, state guidelines call for wearing masks in indoor public spaces, limiting in-person gatherings, limiting the size of gatherings, and social distancing.

People in yellow counties who are immunocompromised, or at high risk for severe illness from the virus, should talk to a health-care provider about whether they need to wear a mask or take other precautions, the CDC says.

Kentucky’s weekly pandemic report, released on Monday, showed the state had an average of 1,456 new cases a day last week, up 1,368 from the week before. Deaths and hospitalizations remain low, but continue to inch up. The positive-test rate increased to 15.75%, up from 13.36%$ the prior week.

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