Kentucky’s positive-test rate drops below 7%; Moderna and J&J boosters get FDA approval, now go to CDC for further guidance

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Most metrics to measure the coronavirus in Kentucky continue to drop Wednesday, including the percentage of Kentuckians who are testing positive for the coronavirus in the last seven days, which dropped below 7 percent, to 6.83%. That’s really good news, considering that the state was at 12.18% a month ago and hit a high of 14.16% on Sept. 8.

Kentucky reported 1,899 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, lowering the seven-day average by 68, to 1,608. Of the day’s new cases, 26% were in people 18 and younger.

Kentucky’s seven-day infection rate ranks 15th among the states, up one spot from Tuesday, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by The New York Times.

The state reports its seven-day infection rate to be 28.57 cases per 100,000 residents. Counties with rates more than double that rate are Cumberland,, 92.9; Owsley, 87.4; Powell, 76.3; Floyd; 57.4; and Mercer, 57.3.

Hospital numbers went down Wednesday. Kentucky hospitals reported 1,115 Covid-19 patients, 87 fewer than Tuesday; 321 in intensive care, down 34; and 207 patients on mechanical ventilation, down 19.

Eight of the state’s 10 hospital regions continued to use at least 80% of their intensive-care capacity, with the Northern Kentucky region still at 100%.

The state reported 52 more Covid-19 deaths, raising the pandemic’s toll to 9,477. Kentucky’s seven-day Covid-19 death average is 38 per day and the 14-day average is 36 per day. One of today’s fatalities was a 35-year-old, according to a Facebook post by Gov. Andy Beshear.

The Washington Post reports CDC data showing that Kentucky gave 10,533 doses of coronavirus vaccinations in the last seven days, a 17% decrease over the previous seven. So far, Kentucky has administered at least one dose to 2.8 million people, covering 73% of the eligible population, 12 and older.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of Covid-19 boosters from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, and says that people can receive a different brand of vaccine as a booster than they did their initial shots, Politico reports.

Those eligible for the Moderna booster include people 65 and older and adults at high risk of severe Covid-19 or with high exposure to the coronavirus through their jobs or living situations. The Moderna booster can be given six months after initial vaccination.

The Johnson & Johnson booster will now be available to anyone 18 or older two months after their first dose.

Further guidance for public employees and health-care workers would come from the CDC’s vaccine advisory panel, “which will meet Thursday to set guidelines for use of the Moderna and J&J boosters and to address the FDA’s decision to permit ‘mix-and-match’ boosters,” Politico reports.

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 booster was approved last month for the same at-risk populations approved by the FDA for Moderna.

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