Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Kentucky ranked high in per-capita rankings of new Covid-19 hospitalizations and reported deaths from the disease last week

White House Coronavirus Task Force map shows Covid-19 admissions by hospital admission zones.
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Kentucky has moved closer to the national average in new cases of the novel coronavirus, but it ranks high in hospitalizations and Covid-19 deaths, according to the latest weekly report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The state ranked sixth in hospitalizations from March 4 through 10 and seventh in deaths March 5-11. The report does not give statewide rates per 100,000 population, but has maps showing the rate ranges in which counties and hospital-admission areas fall.

The data for the two measurements is delivered very differently. Hospitals make daily reports to the state, but deaths are not recorded until cases are reviewed to confirm they are related to Covid-19. That depends on reports from local health departments, which can make them in batches, skewing the time frame. Reporting problems also make state-to-state comparisons problematic.

The map showing new Covid-19 hospital admissions per 100 beds showed the highest rates in the primary admission areas of hospitals in Madisonville, Hardinsburg, Glasgow, Florence, London, Mount Sterling and West Liberty.

The District of Columbia ranked first in new Covid-19 hospitalizations last week. Between it and Kentucky in the rankings were Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Virginia.

Virginia ranked first in deaths per capita last week, largely because of a computer problem that caused some deaths to go unreported for weeks. Between the Old Dominion and Kentucky were Ohio, Delaware, California, Arkansas and Texas.

Deaths are the most lagging indicator of the pandemic. The main leading indicators are the share of coronavirus tests producing positive results and the seven-day rolling average of new virus cases. Last week, Kentucky's positive-test rate was 10th and its new-case average was 14th, the White House task force said. The new-case ranking, which had been as high as third last month, dropped to 19th in the latest New York Times ranking Tuesday.  

White House Coronavirus Task Force chart, with Kentucky highlighted; click on it to enlarge.

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