Kentucky continues have the nation’s highest rate of new Covid-19 cases, even though case numbers dropped 7.9% last week

New York Times map shows Kentucky continues to be the national hot spot. Click to enlarge.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

New coronavirus cases in Kentucky have gone up and down over the last few weeks in what could be the beginning of a plateau. Last week, they dropped 7.9% after increasing 6.8% the previous week.

The state’s weekly report for the Monday-to-Sunday reporting period shows 14,409 new cases last week, an average of 2,058 per day. The prior week, it was 2,236.

Of the new cases, 19.5% were in people 18 and younger, up from 16% in last week’s report. This increase in new cases among youth comes as Kentucky children head back to school amid new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which no longer calls for routine testing or “test-to-stay” programs. Health officials still urge school-aged children to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus increased slightly to 18.51%, up from 18.41% the week before. The numbers does not include at-home tests.

The statewide incidence rate of new cases declined again, to 35.32 per 100,000 residents. Last week that rate was 39.05. The top 10 counties were: McCreary, 154.2; Harlan, 95.6; Perry, 95.4; Leslie, 94; Wolfe, 87.8; Menifee, 81.5; Letcher, 78.2; Breathitt, 73.5; Knott, 73.3; and Knox, 71.1.

The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s infection rate first among the states, even with an 11% drop in cases in the last two weeks. The Times says McCreary County has the highest rate in the nation, at 149 cases per 100,000. A federal prison there has had outbreaks in the past. State officials have attributed the differing numbers to differing methodologies, including the state’s removal of duplicate test results.

Kentucky hospitals reported fewer Covid-19 hospitalizations last week, but the same number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care and on mechanical ventilation. They reported 615 Covid-19 patients Monday, down from 623 a week earlier. They reported 74 Covid-19 patients in intensive care and 27 on mechanical ventilation.

The state attributed 76 more deaths to Covid-19 last week, up from 67 the week before. The pandemic death toll is now 16,540.

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