A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

COVID deaths drop but cases, hospitalizations, positivity increase, weekly report shows

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

While the number of COVID-19 related deaths in Kentucky dropped, most of the other metrics continue to increase, as the pandemic continues.

Forty-nine new deaths appear in the data released Monday, which is down from the 62 from the previous week. That is still well above the 38 and 30 respectively from the two previous reports and brings Kentucky’s pandemic total to 16,293.
There were also 12,798 new COVID cases reported to state public health officials. That was 1,849 higher than the previous week’s 10,949, which was 758 more than on the report released on July 5. The have now been 1,432,660 cases, since the first one was confirmed on March 6, 2020. That also represents nearly 32% of Kentucky’s population, according to the 2020 census.

Thirty-one of Kentucky’s 120 counties reported 100 or more new cases in the July 18 report, one more than last week.

The top 10 counties were: Jefferson 2,297, Fayette 766, Hardin 370, Warren 347, Daviess 329, Kenton 326, Boone 288, Madison 205, Campbell 204, and Pike 187.

Kentucky’s current positivity rate is 17.7%, an increase of 0.74% from last week’s 16.96%. The two weeks before that were 15.75% and 13.36% respectively.

“All active variants in Kentucky continue to be Omicron variants,” said state Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack. “BA.5 has become the predominant variant nationwide at about 65% of the total COVID sequenced, and Kentucky is seeing a similar pattern. BA.5 does not appear to cause increased hospitalization or death, but it is causing more reinfections because previous strains confer less immunity to BA.5.”

The hospital census also shows an increase in patients. A total of 587 Kentuckians are currently hospitalized. Of them, 78 are in the ICU and 18 are on a ventilator. Last week the numbers were 483 in the hospital, 72 in ICU and 28 on a ventilator.

The latest weekly COVID Community Level map, which accompanies this story, shows many more counties are in the red (high level), or yellow (medium level) than the number in the green for low level.
The CDC says a new study found second boosters can restore vaccine protection against hospitalization that might have dropped over time.
Everyone 50 and older and those between 12 and 50 with a weakened immune system are urged to get the second booster.

For more details and guidance, go to the state’s COVID-19 website, http://kycovid19.ky.gov/.

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