By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Kentucky has lost more than 17,000 people to Covid-19, which has killed more Kentuckians than World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War altogether. This burden has been much greater in some counties; the highest county death rate is five times the lowest one.
Using death rates as a measure of which counties have handled the pandemic the best so far, Jefferson County came out on top with just under 2.03 deaths per 1,000 residents. (For each county’s rate, see interactive map here.)
Jefferson, the state’s most populous county, is followed by five counties with death rates lower than 2.6 per 1,000: Fayette (2.07), Scott (2.09), Woodford (2.09), Campbell (2.15), Clark (2.21), Oldham (2.34), Meade (2.34), Boone (2.47) and Calloway (2.59).
The county with the most Covid-19 deaths per 1,000 residents is Robertson, with a death rate of 10.43. The rate and the county’s ranking are not statistically strong, since the county’s population is only 2,108. It had 22 Covid-19 deaths, meaning that the disease killed just over 1 percent of its population.
The other counties with the highest Covid-19 death rates were were Harlan (8.5 per 1,000), Monroe (8.0), Perry (7.8), Lee (7.5), Metcalfe (7.3) and Owsley (7.2). All of these counties and Robertson are in the officially recognized Appalachian region of the state.
As Kentucky settles into a phase of living with the novel coronavirus, it’s important to remember that between 60 and 80 Kentuckians are still dying each week from Covid-19.
“We’re going to be processing this grief for years to come,” Gov. Andy Beshear said at a recent news conference.
Beshear’s administration is working toward placing a Covid-19 memorial on the state Capitol grounds to honor those lost to the pandemic.