10th highest day of new virus cases, almost 1/4 of them in 18 and younger; hospitals keep filling up, and deaths keep increasing

These New York Times maps were adapted by Kentucky Health News to show the growth of cases in the last 10 days. To enlarge the image, click on it. For the interactive version of the map, click here.

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

The resurgence of the pandemic grew in Kentucky Friday on all fronts: new cases of the coronavirus, percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for it, Covid-19 hospitalizations, intensive-care cases, mechanical ventilation, stress on hospitals, and Covid-19 deaths.

The state reported 4,009 new cases, the 10th most ever and the most since Jan. 14. The seven-day average rose by 200, to 2,478, the highest since Jan. 28 and more than twice what it was two weeks ago. “We were reporting 200 cases a day just 33 days ago,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a Facebook video.

An increasing number of new cases are in Kentuckians 18 and younger. Friday, that number was 929, 23.2 percent of the day’s total.

Beshear said, “I don’t know how else to put this. This is getting your friends, your family members, your neighbors, sick. Some of them aren’t going to make it. I need you to do your part. Please care about each other more than you care about political arguments. Get vaccinated. Wear a mask. The lives of those around you depend on it. . . . We gotta prove that we care more about each other than things we see on cable news. Do the right thing.”

Kentucky hospitals reported 1,424 Covid-19 patients, 391 of them in intensive care and 185 of those on ventilators. Those figures have all approximately doubled in the last 12 days.

“Hospitals are filling up or are entirely full all across the commonwealth,” Beshear said. For the first time in the pandemic, the westernmost hospital readiness region (Livingston, Lyon and Trigg counties and those west of them) reported more than 80% of its intensive-care beds occupied, and those ICUs have the state’s largest percentage of Covid-19 patients, 36%.

Two other regions were at 89% and 81%, respectively: the Lake Cumberland region (27% Covid) and the east region, from Lee to Pike counties (33% Covid).

The state reported 12 Covid deaths, for a total of 7,426. That raised the average to 7.7 per day, double two weeks ago. Beshear said the deaths included a 31-year-old from Warren County and a 37-year-old from Henderson County.

The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus rose again, to 11.83%. It has doubled in the last 23 days.

The daily new-case rate in the last seven days is 52.62 per 100,000 residents, more than double what it was two weeks ago. Counties with rates more than double that rate were Clay, 149; Union, 140; Laurel, 116; and Logan, 111. Only 10 counties are out of the red on the state map with rates of 25 or less.

Over the last 14 days, Kentucky has the 10th highest rate of new cases, according to The New York Times. Its increase over that time ranks 26th, at 107%. Ohio’s is 141%, Indiana’s is 139% and Tennessee’s is 119%.

Kentucky vaccinations have picked up in the last three days after a short slump. The state reported 12,776 shots Friday, raising the seven-day average to 9,791. Just over 54% of Kentuckians have received at least one shot, and 46.5% are fully vaccinated. Among vaccine-eligibles, 12 and older, the figure is 63.5%.

Washington Post chart, based on state and CDC data and adapted by Kentucky Health News
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