Covid-19 cases and deaths dropped in Ky. last week, but New York Times says state’s infection rate remains one of the highest

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

After increasing for two weeks, new coronavirus cases in Kentucky dropped 35% in this week’s state report, and Covid-19-related deaths also decreased, but the state’s infection rate ranks high nationally.

The state Department for Public Health‘s latest weekly report showed 4,913 new cases of the coronavirus, or 701 cases per day. That’s down from 1,080 a day the week before. Nearly 18% of the cases were in people 18 or younger.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus in the past seven days was 10.27%, down slightly from 10.37% the week prior. These numbers do not reflect at-home testing.

The weekly new-case rate was 12.54 cases per 100,000 residents, down a bit from 13.06 the week before. The top 10 counties were Wolfe, 39.9 cases per 100,000; Elliott, 30.4; Barren, 30.3; Wayne, 29.5; Boyd, 27.2; Perry, 26.6; Butler, 26.6; Breathitt, 23.8; Green, 23.5; and Simpson, 22.3.

The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s infection rate second among the states, trailing only Tennessee and suffering a 167% increase in cases in the last two weeks, contrary to the state report, which uses different methodology.

The Times explains a possible reason for the difference: “The Times data is sourced from states, counties and regional health departments. Local officials often report earlier than the states do, so this can be a source of variation.”

Kentucky hospitals reported 318 patients with Covid-19, down 88 from the week prior; 55 of them were in intensive care, down eight; and 27 were on mechanical ventilation, down four.

The state attributed 45 more deaths to Covid-19 last week, down from 59 the week before. The state’s pandemic death toll is now 17,838.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a simplified approach for future Covid-19 vaccination, which would allow most adults and children to get a shot once a year “to protect against the mutating virus,” The Associated Press reports. “This means Americans would no longer have to keep track of how many shots they’ve received or how many months it’s been since their last booster.”

AP notes, “Boosters have become a hard sell. While more than 80% of the U.S. population has had at least one vaccine dose, only 16% of those eligible have received the latest boosters authorized in August.” In Kentucky, that figure is only 12%.

The FDA’s panel of outside vaccine experts will consider the proposal Thursday.

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