By Melissa Patrick
The weekly pandemic risk map for Kentucky improved again Thursday, as the number of counties at elevated risk of Covid-19 dropped 24 percent.
Only a few Kentucky counties moved into higher risk categories on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention risk map.
Robertson County rose to the high risk category, shown in orange, from a medium risk, shown in yellow. Neighboring Bracken, Mason, Harrison and Montgomery counties rose to medium risk.
And while all high-risk counties on this week’s map were in Appalachian Kentucky, reflecting its status as a national hotspot that is keeping Kentucky’s overall infection rate second in the nation, many counties in the region and adjoining areas dropped to medium risk this week.
The CDC rated 52 counties at low risk, shown in green, up 21 counties from the prior week. It rated 46 counties at medium risk, an increase of one, and 22 at high risk, down 23, more than half.
In high-risk counties, the CDC recommends that you wear a well-fitting mask in public indoor spaces, and if you are at high risk of getting very sick, consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed.
If you live in a medium or high-risk county, the CDC advises wearing a well-fitting mask when indoors and in public and to consider getting tested before having social contact with someone at high risk for getting very sick and consider wearing a mask when indoors when you are with them.
|CDC map, adapted by Kentucky Health News
Mainly to guide health-care facilities, the CDC also publishes a transmission levels map that ranks the Covid-19 spread in each county in one of four levels, from low to high. None are rated at low community transmission this week. Carlisle and Todd counties have moderate transmission, 13 counties have substantial transmission and the rest have high transmission.
The maps were released late Thursday. Gov. Andy Beshear said at his regular midday-Thursday press conference that Covid-19 cases appear to be declining in Kentucky, based on last week’s maps and Monday’s weekly report from the state Department for Public Health.
“We are at the very least in a plateau, if not in that decline,” Beshear said, adding later, “We are probably a week away from being able to say that we are seeing less spread of Covid throughout the commonwealth.”
Asked if he agrees with President Biden’s statement, aired Sunday, that the pandemic is over, Beshear said, “Obviously, if you look at the charts, Covid is still here.” He also pointed to the World Health Organization‘s statement last week that the end of the pandemic is “in sight.”
But WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday, “We have spent two and a half years in a long, dark tunnel, and we are just beginning to glimpse the light at the end of that tunnel. It is still a long way off, and the tunnel is still dark with many obstacles that could trip us up if we don’t take care. We all need hope that we can – and we will – get to the end of the tunnel and put the pandemic behind us. But we’re not there yet.”