Coronavirus cases increase again in Ky.; state’s infection rate ranks fourth among the states; Covid-19 hospitalizations rank 21st

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

After going up 76% in the week just preceding, new coronavirus cases went up another 22% last week, and the number of deaths increased 59%. Meanwhile, influenza cases dropped for the fifth week in a row.

The state Department for Public Health‘s latest weekly report showed 7,559 new cases of Covid-19, or 1,351 per day. That’s up from 6,208 new cases the week before. Of the new cases, 14% were in people 18 or younger. The report was released Tuesday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus in the past seven days was 10.37%, down from 11.78% the week before. These numbers do not reflect at-home testing.

The weekly new-case rate was 13.06 cases per 100,000 residents, down just a bit from the prior week’s 14.67. The top 10 counties were Elliott, 60.8 cases per 100,000; Menifee, 35.2; Simpson, 31.5; Harlan, 30.2; Breathitt, 28.3; Barren 28.1; Bath, 26.3; Adair, 26.0; Leslie, 26; and Perry, 25.5.

The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s infection rate fourth among the states, with a 167% increase in cases in the last two weeks. The newspaper’s statistics differ from the states because of different methodologies. The Times ranks Kentucky 21st in Covid-19 hospitalizations.

Kentucky hospitals reported 406 patients with Covid-19, down 85 from the week prior; 63 of them were in intensive care, down 10; and 31 were on mechanical ventilation, up five.

The state attributed 59 more deaths to Covid-19 last week, up from 37 the week prior. Since the Dec. 5 report, Kentucky has seen an average of 42 deaths per week.

The Covid-19 death toll in Kentucky stands at 17,793. To remember those lost and those who struggled and helped during the pandemic, construction is underway on a memorial at the state Capitol. Louisville sculptor Amanda Matthews was commissioned to create the monument, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” Funds to build the monument will come from the Team Kentucky Covid-19 Memorial Fund.

Gov. Andy Beshear gave an update on the progress of the memorial at his Jan. 12 news conference. He said he expects the memorial to be complete this spring.

“We’re going to have lost over 18,000 Kentuckians at least through this,” Beshear said. “It’s going to be a place where people can grieve. We’ve seen heroic efforts of so many people, including our health care heroes. They deserve to be recognized.”

The report shows 967 new cases of the flu were confirmed in the week ended Jan. 7, down from 1,307 the week prior, a drop of 26%. The number of confirmed cases this flu season is 38,792.

Kentucky’s flu activity level remains “regional,” meaning cases have been confirmed in at least two, but fewer than half, of the state’s 16 regions.

The report says flu has killed eight children and 116 adults this flu season, with three of the adult cases due to the flu and Covid-19 coinfection. Most flu cases continue to be in people under 20.

Counties with the highest number of cases in this report were Campbell, with 35 cases; Daviess, 40; Fayette, 37; Jefferson, 332; and Kenton, 62.

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