Ky. Health News graph; cases are from initial, unadjusted daily reports. (Click on it to enlarge.)
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News
The pandemic kept surging in Kentucky Wednesday, as the state reported a record 11,232 new cases of the coronavirus, another record-high rate of positive tests, and Covid-19 hospitalizations above 2,000 for the first time since September.
“Our hospitals are becoming strained and we’re seeing concerning impacts in our schools and communities,” Gov. Andy Beshear said on Facebook. “Please mask up and get your vaccine and booster.”
Research shows that boosters of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are needed to provide immunity from the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus, which accounts for almost all new cases. “If you’re vaccinated and you’re boosted, the chances of you getting sick are very, very low,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Kentucky’s record count of new cases drove the state’s seven-day average to 8,378, another record and 52 percent higher than the average reported a week ago. The national average went up 47% in the last week.
Kentucky’s seven-day infection rate is 174 daily cases per 100,000 residents, also a record. But even though the new-case numbers have risen 240% in the last two weeks, the state’s rate is only 29th among the states, according to federal data analyzed by The New York Times.
Kentucky’s hot spots are mainly in metropolitan areas; the 22 counties with rates higher than the statewide rate are Jefferson, 260; Fayette, 251; Campbell, 236; Boone, 228; Warren, 226; Shelby, 222; Boyd, 216; Simpson, 216; Kenton, 212; Oldham, 207; Jessamine, 200; Hardin, 200; Greenup, 198; Carroll, 197.5; Muhlenberg, 194.1; Franklin, 192.8; Bullitt, 192.6; Daviess, 192.2; Spencer, 186; Nelson, 185.1; Pendleton, 179.2; and Henderson, 174.7.
The other record set Wednesday was the percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days: 27.39%. It has been rising by more than half a percentage point per day for nine days.
Kentucky hospitals reported 2,011 patients with Covid-19, the first time since Sept. 28 that the figure exceeded 2,000. That was 58 more than Tuesday, a gain of 3%. Intensive-care units had 454 of the patients, up 5; and 243 were on mechanical ventilation, up 6.
Seven of the state’s hospital-readiness regions reported more than 90% of their intensive-care beds in use, and two others were above 80%. Northern Kentucky was highest at 98.65%, with 43% of its ICU beds occupied by Covid-19 patients. The latter metric was highest in far Western Kentucky, at 47%.
The state attributed 21 more deaths to Covid-19, bringing its total to 12,455.