Most Kentucky counties have a low risk of Covid-19 transmission, but hotspots remain and other respiratory viruses are on the rise

By Melissa PatrickKentucky Health News

Covid-19 appears to leveling off in Kentucky, just as other respiratory viruses ramp up. At his weekly press conference, Gov. Andy Beshear noted that Covid continues to be at some of the lower levels that we’ve seen during the pandemic.

That’s according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention risk map, and the one that corrected the processing problems on last week’s initial map that made things look worse than they were.

However, Beshear cautioned that Kentuckians are getting sick with other respiratory viruses.
“From a health perspective, we’re dealing with a lot more more than Covid,” he said. “Right now flu, RSV and other illnesses are really hitting our population, especially our children. The report I got earlier this week is that almost every pediatric bed at our three hospitals that have pediatric beds, nearly all of them were full, and pediatric ICU beds were completely full.”

RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, is a common virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. And while most people recover in a week or two, it can be serious for infants and older adults. Beshear encouraged Kentuckians to get their annual flu vaccination and the updated Covid-19 booster, and to stay home if they are sick, noting that some schools have closed because of flu or other illnesses.

The latest CDC risk map, which looks at both cases and hospital data to determine risk, shows  Harrison, Robertson and Letcher counties are the only three Kentucky counties considered to be at high risk of Covid-19 transmission.

The map shows 20 Kentucky counties at medium risk, shown in yellow, and 97 counties at low risk, shown in green. High risk counties are shown in orange.

In high-risk counties, the CDC continues to recommend 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 transmission-level map that shows the level of virus spread in each county, at one of four levels. The map shows 19 Kentucky counties at moderate levels of transmission. The rest have either substantial or high levels of transmission. This data is largely used by researchers and health-care facilities.

State health officials have encouraged Kentuckians to use the other CDC map to guide their preventive measures.

The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s infection rate fifth among the states, with a 13% increase in cases in the last two weeks. Here’s the Times map:

New York Times map, adapted by Kentucky Health News; the interactive version is here.
Previous Article
Next Article