A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Latest COVID report mostly good news, but shows rise in hospital ventilator use, positivity


By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The latest weekly COVID-19 report released Monday by the Kentucky Department for Public Health, was mostly good news, with the exception of the positivity rate and hospital ventilator use, both of which posted a rise.

A total of 3,240 new cases were reported to state public health officials for the seven-day period ending October 16. That compares to 3,392 cases last week, 3,979 two weeks ago and 7,402 the week prior. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Kentucky to 1,601,818, since the first one was reported in March 2020.

Four counties reported more than 100 new cases this past week. Jefferson had 714, Fayette 193, Kenton 123, and Boone 103. Last week, by comparison, five counties had over 100 new cases. The Oct. 3 report had only three counties, with six the week before that.

It should be noted, however, that the number of positive cases is likely undercounted, as many people who test positive after taking a home test do not report it to state public health officials, if they do not require medical treatment or were asymptomatic.

The number of COVID-related deaths in the October 17 report was 80, one less than last week. Two weeks ago, there were 61, three weeks ago 67 and the latest report matches the level from four weeks ago.

Kentucky has now had 17,191 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The latest hospital census included 253 people hospitalized.  Of them 28 were in intensive care and 15 on a ventilator. Last week’s report had 287 in the hospital, with 46 in the ICU and 13 on a ventilator.

The state’s positivity rate, which measures the number of cases from all tests performed except those from home testing kits, rose for the second week in a row, following a four week drop. The current positivity rate is 8.50%, up from last week’s 7.91%. Two weeks ago, it reached a nadir of 7.70%, which had been the lowest figure since May.

This follows the Oct. 14 Community Levels map issued by the CDC, which reported 103 of Kentucky’s 120 counties in the green, indicating a low community level of COVID. 16 others, primarily in eastern Kentucky along with two in the south, were yellow (medium level), with Letcher County being the lone red county indicating a high level, in the state.

For more details on Kentucky’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, community levels and more, go to the state’s website, http://kycovid19.ky.gov/.


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