Screenshot of New York Times interactive map with seven-day new-case average; click to enlarge.
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News
The pandemic continued to resurge in Kentucky Tuesday, part of a national trend that began more than three weeks ago but also perhaps showing the effects of hotspots in nearby states.
Kentucky reported 963 new cases of the coronavirus, raising the seven-day rolling average to 596, more than triple what it was three weeks ago.
That made the infection rate over the last seven days 12.67 per 100,000 people, more than four times the low of 3.13 recorded on June 27.
Counties with infection rates more than double that rate are Washington, 42.5; Clay, 39.5; Muhlenberg, 38.7; Webster, 38.6; Hart, 35.3; Hopkins, 33.2; Laurel, 31.7; Hancock, 31.1; Lewis, 28; and Whitley, 27.2. Coincidentally, those are the counties that the state’s new-case map shows in red because their rates are above 25 per 100,000.
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus rose for the 26th straight day, to 6.12 percent. That is almost double what it was just 12 days ago. The low was 1.79% on June 25.
Hospitalizations for Covid-19 have approximately doubled in the last month. Wednesday they totaled 380, with 115 in intensive care and 59 of those on a ventilator, the most on ventilators since June 2.
The state reported two more deaths from Covid-19, raising the total to 7,306. Kentucky is averaging about four Covid-19 deaths per day this month.
The surge in new cases is driven by the variant of the virus known as Delta, estimated to be at least 83% of recent new cases in the U.S. The national hotspots are Missouri and Arkansas, and the New York Times county-level map of new cases suggests that the variant is spreading eastward into Kentucky from those states. The Times ranks Kentucky 15th in the nation in rate of increase over the last two weeks, 256%.
CBS News reported that the viral load of the variant is 1,000 times larger than the original, and may even turn off the immune system briefly, allowing it to take over the body.
The surge has prompted health experts and politicians of both parties to implore Americans to get vaccinated, but vaccinations have gone flat and less than half the population, 48.8%, is fully vaccinated; 56.3% have had at least one dose. In Kentucky, 44.9% are fully vaccinated, and 50.9% have had at least one dose. Among the eligible population, 12 and older, 59.7% have had at least one dose.
But the overall vaccination rate in most counties is below 40%, and in at least 11 it is below 25%: Ballard, Christian, Hickman, Spencer, Robertson, Carlisle, Clinton, Lewis, McCreary, Elliott and Jackson, according to the state vaccination dashboard.
In full vaccination, Franklin County leads with 61%, followed by Woodford, 59%; Fayette, 56%; Jefferson, 52%; and Boone, 51%. The bottom five are Spencer, 20%; Christian, 23%; Lewis, 24%; Jackson, 24%; and Elliott, 25%. For full-vaccination data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, via The Washington Post, click here.