Covid metrics up across Kentucky

Published 8:23 am Friday, July 29, 2022

Kentucky Health News

All measures of Covid-19 in Kentucky kept rising last week, with new cases up 24 percent, with a higher share of them in young people and a big increase in the most critical hospital cases.

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As Gov. Andy Beshear said over and again last week as he encouraged Kentuckians to get vaccinated and boosted at his weekly news conference, “There’s just a lot of Covid out there.”

The figures for the Monday-Sunday reporting period showed 15,884 new cases, an average of 2,269 per day. The week before, there were 1,828 new cases.

The report said 2,858 of last week’s new cases, or 18%, were in people 18 and younger. This percentage is higher than it’s been in recent weeks and comes just as schools are gearing up to start.

Already, Jefferson County Public Schools are requiring masks for anyone who enters a JCPS building or bus, regardless of vaccination status. District officials said in a letter to JCPS families and staff that masking will be required until the county is no longer in the red zone, and that the district will revisit this policy at the end of every week, WDRB reports.

In an e-mail to staff, district officials from Fayette County Public Schools said their mask policy of “Either way is OK” will remain in place, but all employees are encouraged to be fully vaccinated and boosted and to take precautions, Valarie Honeycutt Spears reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Some Fayette County teachers voiced concern that an upcoming required event for all district employees at Rupp Arena will spread Covid-19 if they are not required to wear masks, Honeycutt Spears reports. Fayette County is also a red county on the federal risk map.

The statewide case-incidence rate rose to 42.88 cases per 100,000 residents, up from 37.75 in the previous week. The top 10 counties were Perry, 109.3; Clinton, 102.1; Floyd, 89.9; Union, 89.4; Knott, 87.8; Letcher, 80.2; Adair, 73.7; Green, 71.8; Powell, 69.4; and Elliott, 68.4.

The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s case-incidence rate ninth among the states, with a 33% increase in cases in the last 14 days.

“Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all higher than they have been at nearly any point this summer as the BA.5 variant continues to spread across the United States,” the Times reports.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus rose to 19.1% from 17.7%, but the real percentage is likely much higher since it does not capture the large and unknown number of people who have used home tests.

Kentucky’s Covid-19 hospital numbers remain relatively low in pandemic terms, but continue to rise. Last week’s report shows 598 patients were hospitalized with Covid-19 on Sunday, an increase of 11; the number of Covid patients in intensive care rose by six, to 84. Hospitals reported 33 Covid-19 patients in need of mechanical ventilation, a big increase from 18 the week before.

The state attributed 59 more deaths to Covid-19 last week, an average of 8.4 per day. In the previous week there were 49 deaths, or 7 per day. The state’s pandemic death toll stands at 16,352.