Clark, Kentucky still in COVID red zone

Published 5:19 pm Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Since Friday, there have been at least 45 new case of the coronavirus reported in Clark County.

Those cases include five reported Saturday, 10 on Sunday, 13 Monday and 17 Tuesday. The data for Wednesday, which was The Sun’s press deadline because of the Christmas holiday, had not been released by press time.

Those new cases bring December’s total of new cases to at least 398, which is the highest single month for new cases locally on record. There were 340 cases reported in November, which was previously the highest.

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As of Tuesday evening’s report from the Clark County Health Department, there had been 1,356 total cases in the community. Of those, 170 were active Tuesday and 1,168 had recovered.

The county’s incidence rate was 46.87, which means Clark is still in the state’s coronavirus red zone for counties with an incidence rate of 25 or higher.

The incidence rate is calculated by the average number of new cases over a rolling seven-day period compared to the population to get a rate per 100,000 population.

On Wednesday afternoon, the state Department for Public Health categorized 117 of the state’s 120 counties in the red zone. The remaining three counties were in the orange zone, which is for those with an incidence rate of 10 to 24.

Statewide, there had been 247,344 cases reported as of Tuesday afternoon, leading to 2,440 deaths.

More than 3 million COVID tests have been performed in Kentucky.

The positivity rate, which is based on a seven-day rolling average, was 8.48 on Tuesday.

At least 35,118 Kentuckians have recovered.

As of the Dec. 20 White Coronavirus Task Force report, Kentucky was in the red zone for new cases, and was ranked 22nd in the nation for the rate of new cases.

The state was also in the red zone for positivity, indicating a 10 percent or higher positivity rate, and was ranked 21st in the country for positivity rate.

According to the report, 94 percent of all counties in Kentucky have moderate or high levels of community transmission (yellow, orange or red zones), with 69 percent having high levels of community transmission (red zone).

Kentucky had 449 new cases per 100,000 population, compared to a national average of 462 per 100,000.

Between Dec. 12-18, on average, 422 patients with confirmed COVID-19 and 112 patients with suspected COVID-19 were reported as newly admitted each day to hospitals in Kentucky.

“Hospitals are reporting critical staffing shortages, but the state is managing,” the report states.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 18 million COVID cases leading to more than 321,000 deaths.

The CDC also reported that neighboring Tennessee has the highest average of new daily cases in the country over the past seven days, with an average of 127.9 new cases per 100,000 population. Ohio to the north ranked 14th overall.

In his press conference Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear stressed the importance of caution during the upcoming holidays.

He encourages Kentuckians to “keep gatherings small and safe so they may enjoy many future holidays with their loved ones.”

“With the rest of the country on fire, with hospitalizations escalating in almost every other state, in Kentucky we are seeing a stabilization that is protecting the lives of our people, and we want to make sure that we continue to plateau or even see a decrease in cases as we move forward with this vaccine,” Beshear said. “How we do Christmas and New Year’s celebrations is going to be so critical to protecting as many Kentuckians as possible until we can get this vaccine disseminated.”