The number of Kentucky counties with high and medium Covid-19 risk on the federal risk map made a big jump this week
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Covid-19 cases in Kentucky appear to be on a rough plateau overall, but the number of counties with high and medium risk of transmission on the weekly federal risk map made a big jump Thursday afternoon.
The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention risk map, which looks at both cases and hospital data to determine risk of transmission, shows 10 Kentucky counties at high risk, up from three the week before. High-risk counties are shown in orange on the map; all are in West Kentucky except Robertson.
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.
Medium-risk counties, shown in yellow, increased to 48 this week, up from 15 on the prior week’s map, which was issued Monday due to the Thanksgiving holidays. They are mainly in Central and Eastern Kentucky, as well as the Owensboro and Glasgow areas. Barely a majority of the state’s 120 counties (62) are still estimated to have a low risk of Covid-19, shown in green.
The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s new-case infection rate over the last seven days 25th among the states.
At his weekly news conference Thursday morning, Gov. Andy Beshear again asked Kentuckians to get an updated Covid-19 booster shot, noting that it offers significant protection from the virus. He also encouraged immunocompromised people to wear a mask.
Asked how Kentuckians should protect themselves against “long Covid,” which is reported to occur in about 30% of cases, Beshear first encouraged Kentuckians to get vaccinated and to get boosted. Asked about masking, he said what he has said before, that we are at a point where individuals can make informed decisions about what levels of protection they want to take.
“Our country has moved past widespread masking, that’s just where we are,” Beshear said. “But, what I want to make sure [of] is that we give the space for individuals who make that decision, and that they are not judged, and that they are in fact, encouraged. And I see a lot of individuals choosing to do that.”
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 latest map is redder than the previous version.
The map shows that Todd County is the only one with a low level of transmission and 16 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.
State officials have encouraged Kentuckians to use the other CDC map to guide their preventive measures.