Covid-19 hospitalizations, positivity rate and new coronavirus cases jumped up last week, while death rate went down

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

While Covid-19 hospitalizations and cases tin Kentucky took a big jump last week, the number of Kentuckians who died from the virus in that seven-day period dropped 37 percent.

After reporting an average of 45 people dying each week in the last four weekly reports, the state reported on Monday that that number had dropped to 28 last week, a trend that is being seen across the nation. Kentucky’s pandemic death is 17,530. The New York Times reports that the average number of deaths across the nation has fallen by 7% in recent weeks, to around 260.

The state Department for Public Health reported 5,751 new coronavirus cases last week, or an average of 821 per day. That’s a nearly 49% jump over the week before, when the state reported 3,866 new cases. But that number that was 43% lower than the week before, so cases in Kentucky continue to be on a rough plateau.

Of last week’s new cases, 11% were in people 18 and younger.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus also ticked up.  Last week that rate was 8.14%, which was up from 7.03% the week before and 6.73% the week before that. The figures do not include at-home tests.

Covid-19 hospitalizations increased for the second week in a row, taking a big jump in this week’s report. Hospitals reported 383 Covid-19 patients Monday morning, an increase of 102 over the prior Monday; 59 were in intensive care, 19 more than the week prior; and 29 were on mechanical ventilation, up 20.

The weekly new-case incidence rate was 16.29 cases per 100,000 residents, up from 10.61 the week prior. Bath County, with 33.1 new cases per 100,000, was tops, followed by Pendleton, 29.4; Henry, 28.3; Nelson, 26.9; Pike, 25.2; Calloway, 24.2; McCreary, 24.0; Warren, 23.9; Mercer, 23.4; and Johnson, 23.2.

The Times ranks Kentucky’s infection rate 24th among states, with a 10% increase in cases over the last two weeks.

In its evaluation of the national data, the Times voices concerns that hospitalization and test positivity rates are increasing: “Daily case and death data are subject to fluctuations around Thanksgiving that do not affect other metrics. It is therefore particularly concerning to see hospitalizations and test positivity — the most reliable data at this time of year — rising sharply.”

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