By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Every metric of the pandemic in Kentucky fell last week, but while the number of new coronavirus cases was dropping, the number of those in Kentuckians 18 and younger increased by almost a third.
The state’s report for the Monday-to-Sunday reporting period said there were 7,402 new cases, or 1,057 per day. That’s 19% less than the 1,308 daily average recorded the week before.
But 2,748 of those new cases were among Kentuckians 18 and younger. That was 37% of the total, one of the highest weekly figures for this group and 31% more than the prior week’s 18-and-younger figure.
State data shows there is a lot of room to increase vaccination rates in this age group, with only 43% of those 16 and 17 fully vaccinated; 43% of those 12-15; 20% of those 5-11; and 2% of those 6 months to 4 years old.
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus in the last seven days was 9.01%, the lowest rate reported since the end of May. This figure does not include at-home tests.
Hospital numbers, a key to determining risk from the virus, dropped again. Kentucky hospitals reported 398 Covid-19 patients, down 58 from the week before; 62 Covid-19 patients in intensive care (down 13); and 24 of those patients in need of mechanical ventilation (down 5).
The statewide incidence rate of new cases was 14.4 cases per 100,000 residents, down from 20.1 a week earlier. The top 10 counties were all in Appalachia: Perry, 55.5; Knott, 46.3; Leslie, 43.4; Powell, 42.8; Owsley, 38.8; Letcher, 35.1; Greenup, 35; Menifee, 33; Breathitt, 31.7; and Wayne, 31.6.
Kentucky still has one of the highest case rates in the nation, with Eastern Kentucky still a hotspot. The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s seven-day new-case rate third highest among states, even with a 42% drop in cases in the last 14 days. New Jersey and North Carolina rank barely ahead of Kentucky.
The Times says Perry County has the second highest rate in the nation and that Harlan and Breathitt counties are ranked No. 9 and No. 10. Wayne, Rowan, Boyd, Clay, Morgan, Letcher, Carter, Powell, Johnson and Floyd counties are also in the top 25 nationally. (The Times figures differ somewhat from state figures because of differences in data gathering and processing.)
The state attributed 67 more deaths to Covid-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 16,969.