New cases of the flu outnumber new cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky, but deaths from Covid-19 went back up last week

By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross
Kentucky Health News 

Newly confirmed cases of influenza are outpacing new cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky, and the state is among the national leaders in new flu cases. Meanwhile, though, deaths from Covid-19 are going up.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has Kentucky, 10 other states and the District of Columbia in the “very high” category of flu-like illnesses. That’s based on reports for the week ending Dec. 3, when Kentucky had at least 7,192 new cases. The previous figure was 6,398. The CDC says “at least” because unlike Covid-19, flu cases do not have to be reported to health authorities.

In the week ended Sunday, Dec. 11, the state Department for Public Health reported 5,214 new coronavirus cases, an average of nearly 745 per day. That’s 9% lower than the week before, when the state was averaging 821 new cases per day. Of last week’s cases, 14.5% were in people 18 and younger.

The state attributed 51 more deaths to Covid-19, up from 28 the week before and higher than a month of weekly reports before that, which showed an average of 45 deaths per week. Kentucky’s pandemic death toll totals 17,580.

The flu has killed at least 29 Kentuckians this season. The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department reported Dec. 7 that six were in its jurisdiction. “The flu is hitting hard in Lexington,” spokesman Kevin Hall said in an email. “There are already more total lab-reported cases in the first 9 weeks this season than in the previous three years combined.”

The state’s weekly Covid-19 report shows that the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus was 8.63%, up just a bit from 8.14% the week before. The figures do not include at-home tests.

All said, it appears that when it comes to cases and positivity rates, Covid-19 Kentucky remains on a the rough plateau seen for about three months..

Covid-19 hospitalizations barely increased last week, after taking a big jump in the last one, and the number of severely ill patients went down. Hospitals reported 388 patients with Covid-19 Monday morning, an increase of five over the prior Monday; 45 were were in intensive care, down 14; and 19 were in need of mechanical ventilation, down 10.

The weekly new-case incidence rate was 15.82 cases per 100,000 residents, down from 16.29 the week before. The top 10 counties were Bath, 38.9 cases per 100,000;  Powell, 33.5; Washington, 33.1; Leslie, 30.4; Calloway, 30; Hart, 29.3; Simpson, 27.7; Metcalfe, 27; Montgomery, 26.9; and Union, 26.8.

The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s coronavirus incidence rate 20th among states, even with a 16% drop in cases in the last two weeks.

Nationwide, the Times reports, “Conditions are worsening across the country, with reported cases and hospitalizations up more than 25 percent in the past two weeks and test positivity rates rising quickly.”

Previous Article
Next Article