New coronavirus cases went down 60% in Kentucky last week, but new hospitalizations of patients with Covid-19 rose 18.5%

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Kentucky reported 60 percent fewer new coronavirus cases last week, but the positive-test rate rose a bit and hospitalizations jumped more than 18 percent.

The state Department for Public Health’s latest weekly report, released Tuesday because of the New Year’s holiday, showed 3,532 new cases of Covid-19, or 504 per day. That’s down from 1,274 per day in the prior week, when the state saw a 40% increase in cases over the previous week.

Only 2% of this week’s reported cases were in people 18 and younger, perhaps the lowest number yet reported, and probably reflecting school holidays.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days increased slightly, to 12.74%, up from 12.23%. The week before that this rate was 9.85%.

It’s important to remember that the actual numbers are likely much higher, since the reported percentage doesn’t include at-home tests. And as Gov. Andy Beshear has said, by the time a person gets a Covid-19 test that is analyzed by a laboratory, they are pretty sure they have some sort of infection.

Hospitalizations kept rising. Kentucky hospitals reported 480 patients with Covid-19, up 18.5% from 405 a week earlier, with 58 in intensive care (up nine) and 24 on mechanical ventilation (up eight).

The weekly new-case incidence rate was 14.6 cases per 100,000 residents, up just slightly from 14.54 the week before. The top 10 counties were Robertson, 54.2 cases per 100,000; Elliott,43.7; Lee, 38.6; Simpson, 35.4; Monroe, 32.2; Bath, 30.9; Owsley, 29.1; Bell, 28.5; Lyon,27.8; and Leslie, 27.5.

The New York Times continues to note that Kentucky and South Carolina are in the midst of worsening conditions. On Wednesday, the Times ranked Kentucky’s incidence rate 42nd in the nation, with a 57% decrease in the last two weeks.

Kentucky attributed 27 more deaths to Covid-19 last week, down from 45 the week prior. The state’s pandemic death toll is now 17,697.

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