Washington Post chart, adapted by Ky. Health News; click to enlarge.
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News
Most measures of the pandemic in Kentucky declined Wednesday, and vaccinations are on an uptick after a slight decline.
The state reported 1,702 new cases of the coronavirus, lowering the seven-day rolling average by 28, to 1,320. It is the 20th straight day that the seven-day average has declined.
Reported vaccinations rose to a seven-day average of 11,262, so the ratio of vaccinations to new cases is 8.5 to 1. Late last week, it was less than 7 to 1.
Despite the decline in cases over the last several weeks, health officials are concerned that the arrival of cold weather, moving more activity indoors, will cause more spread of the virus and flu viruses, again threatening the capacity of hospitals, where intensive-care units remain near capacity.
Kentucky hospitals reported 869 Covid-19 patients Wednesday, 24 fewer than Tuesday, but the number in ICUs rose by 10, to 276. Eight of the 10 hospital regions reported more than 80 percent of their ICU beds in use, with Northern Kentucky highest at 98.3%.
Daily new cases over the last seven days have averaged 23.58 per 100,000 residents, continuing a 12-day decline that took the state as a whole out of the red “high transmission” category into the “substantial” orange level. But many hotspots remain, especially in Southern Kentucky; counties with rates more than double the statewide rate are Russell, 82.1; Adair, 66.2; Jackson, 57.9; Clinton, 57.3; Letcher, 54.4; Green, 53.5; Cumberland, 51.8; and Owsley, 51.8.
The state reported 20 more Covid-19 deaths, making Kentucky’s pandemic toll 9,685. The seven-day average of deaths dropped just below 30; the 14-day average is 34.
An attorney for the state Public Protection Cabinet is suing Gov. Andy Beshear in federal court after being disciplined repeatedly for refusing to wear a mask at work. Dana Simmons alleges that the executive branch’s mask policy violates court rulings and the legislature’s limits Beshear’s ability to issue emergency orders, specifically mask mandates, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. The cabinet said employees are obliged to follow its “personnel safety policies.”