CDC’s Kentucky risk map looks about the same as last week, but Beshear says ‘Covid is definitely increasing’ and counsels caution

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

The latest Centers for Disease Control map of Covid-19 risks in Kentucky is about the same as last week’s, but “Covid is definitely increasing,” Gov. Andy Beshear said at his weekly press conference, before the map was released.

“We’re seeing that holiday bump,” Beshear said. “I don’t want to call it a surge [but] this is a real bump and cases obviously are under-reported,” becauuse of home testing. He said some people who test positive at home don’t report their infection because they are vaccinated, feel good and are likely protected from serious disease.

Pointing to graphs showing more new cases by week, and positive results of lab-analyzed tests for the virus, the governor said, “When you come and you get the full PCR test by a professional, you’re pretty posoitve youve got something pretty serious.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map

The latest CDC map showed two fewer counties at high risk, 15, and most of them were a West Kentucky cluster that has been orange on the map for weeks. Medium-risk counties, in yellow, still numbered 42, and there were 61 low-risk counties, in green.In high-risk counties, the CDC continues to recommend that you wear a well-fitting, high-quality 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.

Beshear advised those who are “immuno-compromised” to mask up when they go out. “I see people now being very accepting of folks in masks, and that’s where we need to get to,” he said, advising the non-compromised to think ahead: “You might have something coming up you don’t want to miss.”

Perhaps even more important, he said, “If you feel sick, don’t go to work. . . . Don’t send sick kids to school. If we do[n’t do] just those two things we’ll continue to do better and better against Covid.”

CDC map; to enlarge any image, click on it.

The CDC has another map, mainly for hospitals and researchers, that shows transmission levels. Most countuies are at a high level, shown in red,, and most of the rest are at a substantial level, in orange. State officials say the orange, yellow and green map should be used as guidance for preventive measures.

Beshear also counseled precautions to prevent the spread of influenza, saying “The flu remains very serious and still very high in Kentucky. We’ve confirmed eight Kenutcky children have died from influenza this flu season.” He said only one was vaccinated and some were “co-infected with other viruses, and Kentucky is part of a national surveillance to see if strep infections are playing a role in higher-than-usual deaths of children.

Like Covid-19 vaccines, the flu vaccine is more effective at preventing serious disease than infection. “It will really help if you get the flu,” Beshear said.

The other respiratory illness threatening children, RSV, “does appear to be declining, thankfully, but it’s still contributing increased hiospoitalizations of chidlren,” Beshear said. Some pediatric beds in the state have opened up, he said, “but there are still a lot of kids in the hospital, and we don’t want to see that.”

Also on the health front, Beshear asked Kentuckians to donate blood at the Kentucky Blood Center, which is runnign short of most blood types and needs 400 donors a day across at its eight locations in Pikeville, Corbin, Somerset, Lexington, Frankfort and the Louisville area.

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