80 KY counties at high COVID levels as governor warns of rising cases, hospitalizations

·3 min read

With 80 Kentucky counties still at high COVID-19 community levels, Gov. Andy Beshear took the opportunity Thursday to raise the alarm about the state’s escalating cases and hospitalization rate.

“This is not a good map,” Beshear said, referring to a map of Kentucky counties COVID-19 levels. “It shows we have a whole lot of COVID. It is spreading significantly.”

Eighty counties still remain at high COVID-19 community levels as of Friday, a metric the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses to measure the virus’ impact on local health care infrastructure.

That said, nine counties are at low COVID-19 community levels, a change from last week when no counties in the state fell into that category.

80 Kentucky counties are in the red for high COVID-19 community levels, according to the latest CDC data.
80 Kentucky counties are in the red for high COVID-19 community levels, according to the latest CDC data.

A county’s community level is determined by three factors:

  1. New COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people (seven-day total)

  2. New COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people (seven-day total)

  3. Percentage of inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (seven-day average)

“What we know is that there are a lot of cases out there,” Beshear said in his address. “Everybody out there knows someone that has COVID right now or just got over it.”

If you live in one of the high counties, the CDC advises wearing a mask while indoors in public, staying up to date on your vaccines and getting tested if you have symptoms.

What does state data show about COVID-19 in Kentucky?

As of Monday, the weekly state COVID-19 report indicated an increase of 14,654 new coronavirus cases, including 2,675 new cases for those 18 years old and younger.

There were a total of 45 new deaths, the report indicated. As of Aug. 1, Kentucky had a total 16,397 deaths to COVID-19.

One bright spot in this week’s coronavirus report: Kentucky’s positivity rate fell slightly, Beshear announced Thursday.

“For the first time in months, the positivity rate actually dipped,” Beshear said.

That said, the metric isn’t what it used to be given the prevalence of at-home tests, the governor cautioned.

If the rate starts to show signs of falling, however, that indicates Kentucky is starting to peak in its levels of COVID-19, Beshear said.

As of Monday, the state’s positivity rate stood at 17.89%.

Hospitalizations rise amid latest surge in COVID-19 cases

Thursday, Beshear raised concern about Kentucky’s rising hospitalizations during the latest wave of COVID-19 sweeping through the state, likely driven by fast-spreading omicron variants like BA.5.

“Our hospitalizations are going up and continue to go up,” Beshear said at his news conference Thursday. “If you are a vulnerable Kentuckian, be it age or health conditions, you really need to be vaccinated, you really want to consider wearing that mask.”

As of Aug. 1, the current COVID-19 Kentucky hospital census indicated 602 people were hospitalized with the disease. Eighty-nine people were being treated in intensive care units, and 33 were on ventilators.

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