By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
The number of Kentucky counties at high risk of Covid-19 was cut in half last week, with only two counties moving into a higher risk category.
Harrison and Magoffin counties moved to the high risk category, shown in orange, from a medium risk, shown in yellow.
All 11 of the high-risk counties on this week’s map, except Harrison, are in the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The CDC rated 51 counties at medium risk, five more than the week before, and 58 at low risk, up by six. Low-risk counties are shown in green.
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 those who are at high risk of getting very sick to wear 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.
The CDC also has a transmissions levels map that shows the level of virus spread in each county, at one of four levels. It says Hickman County has low transmission and 12 counties have moderate levels. The rest have either substantial or high levels of transmission. This data is largely used by researchers and health-care facilities, but it also shows why Kentucky’s infection rate is again first in the nation, according to The New York Times.
State officials say Kentuckians should use the risk map, which is based on new coronavirus cases, hospital admissions and hospital capacity, to guide their preventive measures.
Reflecting on last week’s CDC report and the state’s weekly report, released Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear said at his weekly press conference that the state has seen four weeks in a row of a decline or plateau and that “it’s the best looking map we’ve had in a while.” This week’s map, released later Thursday, is even better.
Beshear also encouraged Kentuckians to get the new booster shot that protects against the major Omicron subvariants, again warning that “Since the vaccines became available, 93 percent of all Covid deaths have been amongst unvaccinated individuals. . . . If you are willing to get that booster, please go out and schedule it.”
Asked under what circumstances he is still wearing a mask, Beshear first said people should consider wearing a mask depending on where they are and what the color of the county is on the risk map. Further, he said it should depend on your vaccination status and your overall health.
“Those are all things that people should consider,” he said. “I will tell you that I have not worn a mask often in the past several months. I have worn one on an airplane — just thinking . . .of my own risk perspective, I get sick every time I’m on an airplane, much less from from Covid — and in an airport.”