Thursday, November 10, 2022

26 Ky. counties moved from low risk to medium risk for Covid-19 last week as flu and RSV cases remained high across the state

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

While only three Kentucky counties were considered to be at high risk of Covid-19 transmission last week, 26 of them moved out of the low-risk category and into the medium-risk category this week. Meanwhile, influenza and RSV cases remain high. 

RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus, a common virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. And while most people recover in a week or two, it can be serious for infants and older adults.

At his weekly news conference, Gov. Andy Beshear urged Kentuckians to get their flu and Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters, especially as we head into the holidays where multi-generational groups gather indoors. He also encouraged people to pull out their masks if they are at high risk of severe illness.

"If you're susceptible as an adult, if you have some of those conditions where RSV or the flu or Covid can make you really sick, consider wearing that mask in public, especially when you are indoors," he said. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention risk map, which looks at both cases and hospital data to determine risk, shows Knott, Pike and Letcher counties at high risk of Covid-19 transmission. Letcher County was the only high-risk county on the prior week's high-risk map. 

The map shows 46 Kentucky counties at medium risk, shown in yellow, and 71 counties at low risk, shown in green. High-risk counties are shown in orange.

In high-risk counties, the CDC continues to recommend that you wear a well-fitting mask in public indoor spaces, and if you are at high risk of getting very sick, consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed.

If you live in a medium or high-risk county, the CDC advises those who are at high risk of getting very sick to wear a well-fitting mask when indoors and in public and to consider getting tested before having social contact with someone at high risk for getting very sick and consider wearing a mask when indoors when you are with them.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map
The CDC also has a transmission-level map that shows the level of virus spread in each county, at one of four levels. The map shows two Kentucky counties at low levels of transmission (Fulton and Robertson), 16 counties at moderate levels of transmission and the rest have either substantial or high levels of transmission. This data is largely used by researchers and health-care facilities.

State health officials have encouraged Kentuckians to use the other CDC map to guide their preventive measures.

The New York Times ranks Kentucky's infection rate ninth among the states, with a 19% increase in cases in the last two weeks.

Beshear said state data indicate that Covid-19 is on a plateau in Kentucky, with a little up and down movement each week in both new cases and the positive-test rate. 

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