Kentucky sees 4 weeks of improving COVID-19 metrics. These 11 counties remain at high

For the fourth consecutive week, Kentucky saw either a decline or leveling off of new COVID-19 cases, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday, touting across-the-board improvements to the state’s coronavirus metrics.

“This is the best-looking map than we’ve had in a while,” Beshear said during a news conference Thursday, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s map of COVID-19 community levels by county.

“Look how much the [orange] in Eastern Kentucky has shrunk, especially over the last two weeks,” Beshear added, referring to the fact that less than a dozen Kentucky counties are currently facing high community levels.

There are now 11 counties, primarily concentrated in Eastern Kentucky, at high. They are Harrison, Robertson, Menifee, Johnson, Magoffin, Pike, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Leslie counties.

Kentucky’s COVID-19 Community Levels, as of Sept. 29, 2022.
Kentucky’s COVID-19 Community Levels, as of Sept. 29, 2022.

That’s a big shift from the 22 counties that were experiencing high community levels the week before.

The metric, as defined by the CDC, takes into account new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people and the percent of inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, all using seven-day rolling averages or totals.

According to the federal agency, when the community level is high, individuals should wear a good mask or respirator and consider limiting indoor activities if you are high risk. At medium, high risk individuals should mask in indoor, public places. Vaccinations and testing if symptoms arise are universal recommendations.

Weekly case totals are generally less reliable than they used to be given the abundance of at-home tests, which aren’t tracked.

“You can see how much better things are getting in every single metric we have,” Beshear noted.

He pointed to improvements in the state’s positivity rate, hospitalizations and coronavirus patients in intensive care.

According to data from the Kentucky Department for Public Health, current as of Sept. 26, the state’s positivity rate stood at 9.01%. A total of 398 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of that date, with 62 being treated in intensive care units.

The report also indicates 7,402 new cases over the seven prior days.

“In order to keep up those positive trends, we all need to schedule our appointment to get the new Omicron booster shot,” Beshear said. “Since the vaccines became available, 93 percent of all COVID deaths have been amongst unvaccinated individuals.”

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COVID-19 in Fayette County

Fayette County’s positivity rate is now below 10%, according to the latest available figures from the CDC. On Sept. 22, the positivity rate stood at 13.29%, but as of Thursday it had fallen to 9.44%.

There were less than 10 new coronavirus deaths in Fayette County, marking a 50% decrease in the coronavirus death rate from the week ago.

The county is at a medium COVID community level as of Friday.

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