Kentucky’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 15.75%, but hospitalizations and deaths remain low

The rate doesn't include at-home tests.

Even as the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus last week jumped to 15.75%, and other key metrics of the pandemic such as hospital numbers and deaths rose, both of those remained relatively low.

The positive-test rate last week increased 2.39 percentage points from 13.36% the week before. It has been on a steady incline since April 4, when the rate was 1.97%. The figures do not include at-home tests.

kentucky covid graph
(Kentucky Health News graph)

The state’s Monday-through-Sunday report shows 10,191 new coronavirus cases, an average of 1,456 per day. After four weeks of steep increases ranging from 21% to 41%, the latest increase was only 6.4% more than the prior week, when the rate was 1,368 per day. 

The statewide incidence rate increased to 30.77 cases per 100,000 residents, up from 26.6 in the previous report. Two counties have rate smore than double the state rate: Breathitt, 63.3, and Washington, 62.6. Rounding out the top 10 were Perry, 59.3; Muhlenberg, 51.8; Leslie, 49.2; Lyon, 48.7; Larue, 47.6; Powell, 46.2; Wolfe, 45.9; and Hardin, 45.1.

The New York Times shows Kentucky with a much lower incidence rate, so low that it ranks last among the states and Washington, D.C., with  a 78% drop in cases in the last two weeks. The Times shows Kentucky with a rate of 7 per 100,000, with only 328 cases per day in the last week.

On the state report, 12% of the new cases were in people 18 and younger. COVID-19 vaccinations were recently approved for children aged 6 months to 5 years old. So far, 941 Kentucky children in this age group have received their first dose of vaccine, according to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard. 

The state reported 38 more COVID-19 deaths last week, an average of 5.4 per day. That was an increase from 4.3 per day the prior week, which was the lowest it had been since last August. The state’s pandemic death toll is 16,182. 

And while Kentucky’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers remain low, they continue to tick up. Kentucky hospitals reported 405 patients with COVID-19 Monday, up from 377 a week ago, with 49 in intensive care (down five) and 23 on mechanical ventilation (up five). 

The latest CDC national COVID-19 risk map, which measures cases and hospital capacity, shows 43 counties with a high level of coronavirus transmission and 35 with a medium risk. The map is updated on Thursday evenings.

Kentucky’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 15.75%, but hospitalizations and deaths remain low

Kentucky Health News

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.