Thursday, June 2, 2022

CDC: Covid-19 risk levels high in 7 Ky. counties, medium in 21; Beshear says 'This is the safest we have been in this pandemic'

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map shows estimated risk from Covid-19.
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Seven Kentucky counties are red on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national Covid-19 risk map, indicating a high level of coronavirus transmission. Twenty-one Kentucky counties are yellow, indicating a medium level of transmission.

The red counties are McCracken and Crittenden in Western Kentucky and Pike, Lewis, Greenup, Carter and Boyd in the northeast. McCracken has been red for three weeks in a row, although officials there have questioned its status. Boyd and and Greenup counties were also red last week. 

In red counties, state guidelines call for wearing masks in indoor public spaces, limiting in-person gatherings, limiting the size of gatherings, and social distancing.

Last week's map had only four red counties, but this week's map looked much the same as last week's, with yellow in West Kentucky, Louisville, the Lexington area and the state's northeastern tier.

Gov. Andy Beshear referred to last week's map at a news conference Thursday, a few hours before the release of the new one, as he encouraged Kentuckians to pay attention to the map, especially if they live in red counties, because it not only looks at Covid-19 cases but also hospital capacity. 

"It's kind of a deeper analysis, or at least one that brings multiple different things together. So we ought to continue watching this map, and listen, it means there's more Covid than there was a month ago," he said. He added later, "I think in red counties, certainly some thought should be given on individual decisions on masking." 

The 21 yellow counties are Hickman, Carlisle, Ballard, Graves, Marshall, Lyon, Livingston, Jefferson, Woodford, Fayette, Clark, Rockcastle, Bracken, Mason, Fleming, Elliott, Lawrence, Johnson, Magoffin, Floyd, and Martin. 

The CDC says people in yellow counties who are immunocompromised, or at high risk for severe illness from the virus, should talk to a health-care provider about whether they need to wear a mask or take other precautions.

Again this week, the cluster of yellow and red counties in Eastern Kentucky border a large cluster of red and yellow counties in West Virginia. 

This week's CDC risk map comes with what Beshear called a "mixed bag" of  Covid-19 metrics in Kentucky, with cases and hospital numbers down, but the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus up. 

"Here's the really good news," he said. " While we have more cases than we had a month ago, and while the positivity rate continues to go up, it is not proportional anymore to significant illness amongst people who get it." 

The state's weekly report Monday showed Kentucky had an average of 1,020 new cases a day last week, down 12% from the week before, the lowest weekly Covid-19 death rate since August 2021 and low hospitalization numbers. The positive-test rate increased to 11.2% from 10.5% the week before. 

Asked if he was satisfied with the way Kentuckians were approaching the pandemic right now, Beshear said, "I'm not sure I will ever be fully satisfied until we are past the pandemic." 

He then noted that Kentuckians are likely following a "natural path" of behavior as the state moves toward the endemic phase of the pandemic, meaning that the virus will have stopped being widespread, but remain present, with outbreaks limited to particular regions. 

"This is the safest we have been in this pandemic, since it hit," he said. 

Beshear acknowledged the disruption that Covid-19 cases and quarantines have on businesses and events, commending people who stay home when they test positive or have been exposed to the virus because that is what is needed to slow the spread of the virus. 

State Dept. for Public Health graph
The governor again encouraged Kentuckians to get fully vaccinated and boosted, and to use the reported Covid-19 metrics and the CDC map to make the best decisions for their health and safety. 

That's especially important for seniors, who, despite strong levels of vaccination, have been killed at "vastly higher rates" during this winter's Omicron surge than in the last year, Benjamin Mueller and Eleanor Lutz report for The New York Times: "Almost as many Americans 65 and older died in four months of the Omicron surge as did in six months of the Delta wave, even though the Delta variant, for any one person, tended to cause more severe illness." 

Kentucky's Covid-19 dashboard doesn't show deaths by age for each month of the pandemic, but it clearly shows that seniors have been hit hardest by the virus. 

The dashboard also shows that among Kentucky seniors 60 and older who have died from the virus, 4,246 of them were unvaccinated and 1,987 of them were fully vaccinated.

No comments:

Post a Comment