Kentucky adds 4,500 new COVID cases as CDC rates more counties at medium community level

Many more Kentucky counties are experiencing elevated COVID-19 community levels a week after the Thanksgiving holiday, updated data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

The CDC’s latest COVID-19 community levels – which track the impact of the respiratory disease at the local level – show Kentucky 10 counties are at high, while another 48 are at medium. That’s a big shift from the green blanket of low counties Kentucky was covered in leading up to Thanksgiving.

A county’s COVID-19 community level reflects new cases per 100,000 people (seven-day total), new hospital admissions for the disease for every 100,000 people (seven-day total) and the percent of inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (seven-day average).

The 10 counties currently experiencing high community levels are mostly concentrated in western Kentucky. Those counties include Ballard, Carlisle, Crittenden, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken and Robertson, in northeast Kentucky.

A map showing the latest COVID-19 community levels for each Kentucky county, as of Dec. 2, 2022.
A map showing the latest COVID-19 community levels for each Kentucky county, as of Dec. 2, 2022.

Given the high community level, the CDC recommends people in those counties mask in public while indoors, limit in-person gatherings and encourages physical distancing.

Another 48 counties, including Fayette County, are at medium, and they’re scattered across broader swaths of Kentucky.

The medium level counties include Barren, Boone, Bourbon, Boyd, Boyle, Breathitt, Campbell, Carter, Casey, Clark, Daviess, Elliott, Floyd, Gallatin, Garrard, Grant, Greenup, Hancock, Harrison, Hart, Jessamine, Johnson, Kenton, Knott, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McLean, Menifee, Mercer, Metcalfe, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Owsley, Pendleton, Perry, Pike, Powell, Rowan, Scott, Wolfe and Woodford.

The latest available CDC data, updated Thursday, put the number of new cases occurring over the previous seven-day period at 4,583, and the number of new deaths at 43.

Kentucky’s positivity rate lay somewhere between 8 and 9.9%, the CDC reports.

An outdated community level map was still live on the state’s official COVID-19 website Friday afternoon, and Susan Dunlap, the executive director of the office of public affairs for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, confirmed the new CDC data in an email.

An uptick in hospital admissions for COVID-19 landed nine of the high-rated counties in that category, while Robertson County alone was placed there for both elevated hospital admissions and incidence rate, Dunlap noted.

Dunlap also said there is some divergence in what the CDC and the state’s health department have to say about virus incidence rates.

“The incidence rates reported by the CDC do not match the rates submitted on Wednesday, Nov. 30. However, this had not led to any community level errors. We are following up with the CDC to determine the reason for the discrepancy,” Dunlap wrote to the Herald-Leader Friday.

Where does Fayette County stand with COVID-19?

The latest data from the CDC put Fayette County’s positivity rate at 7.27%, but it’s worth noting this rate does not capture at-home tests people frequently use when they suspect they have COVID-19. The reported rate marks a roughly 1% increase over the previous rate.

The CDC reported 268 additional coronavirus cases in the county in the latest reporting period leading up to Nov. 30.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department offers the COVID-19 vaccine at its public health clinic Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. To make an appointment, call 859-288-2483.

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