Ky. Health News graph (click on it to enlarge); daily cases are from unadjusted initial reports.
By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross
Kentucky Health News
Coronavirus cases continue to escalate in Kentucky, but the numbers from the state’s hospitals are increasing even more.
“This is the most dangerous time we’ve seen in this pandemic,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a Facebook post. “We’ve got to get more people vaccinated and we need people to wear masks when they are outside the home and indoors. Please do your part.”
Kentucky hospitals reported 2,014 Covid-19 patients Tuesday. That’s a rise of 121 patients, or 6.4%, in just one day.
The state also saw a 11.3% jump in the number of patients in intensive care, to 589 (up 60 from yesterday). That was much more than the last two Tuesdays, which saw jumps of 2.8% and 7%.
Even bigger was the increase in the number of patients on mechanical ventilation, up 12.3% from yesterday, to 388. The percentage of ICU patients on ventilation is now 57.4%; in the last month it averaged 47% and dropped as low as 38.2%, indicating that Covid-19 patients are getting sicker.
Three of the state’s hospital readiness regions are using at least 80% of their intensive-care beds: Barren River, at 84.3%; the easternmost region, from Lee to Pike counties, at 83.8%; and Lake Cumberland, at 88.9%.
State Senate President Robert Stivers announced on Tuesday a campaign that will include a “media blitz” that includes 30 local “influencers” urging people in his hometown of Clay County to get vaccinated. The campaign will also include vaccination clinics at 13 public schools in the county and will offer drawings for cash prizes to be used for sports equipment in the schools with the highest vaccination rates. It also free wrist bands that say “I took the shot” and a coupon for free pizza, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.
“This is something that could be easily ramped up in many counties,” Stivers said at a news conference.
The statewide case rate is 76.9 cases per 100,000 residents. Counties with rates double the statewide rate are Clay, 194.5; Magoffin, 183.3; Whitley, 167.4; Jackson, 167.2; Bell, 161.9; Union, 155.0; and Laurel, 153.9. Every county in the state except for Robertson continues to be in the “red zone,” for those with a rate of more than 25 per 100,000, and is considered to have a high level of coronavirus transmission.
The state reported 4,638 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, with 1,335 of them, or 28.8%, in people 18 and younger. The total was the fifth highest of the pandemic, and raised the seven-day rolling average by 194, to 3,647 per day, an increase of 5.6% in one day.
The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days is 12.89%. It has plateaued in the last two days after reaching 13.01% Sunday, the highest since testing became widely available.
The state reported 17 more deaths from Covid-19, bringing the death toll to 7,575 and the daily average to 11.7, more than double what it was two weeks ago.
Vaccinations have slipped in the last two days. The state reported only 7,261 doses Tuesday, reflecting Monday’s vaccinations, lowering the seven-day average to 12,957.
Statewide, 55.9% of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 65.6% of the eligible population, 12 and older, have. Nearly 2.5 million Kentuckians have received at least one shot.