FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky reported 647 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday, the state’s highest Monday case report since the beginning of the pandemic.
Nine new deaths were also reported.
Comparing days of the week — Mondays to Mondays, for example — accounts for reporting variances as labs close or do not report to the Department for Public Health over the weekend.
Last Monday, Kentucky reported 642 newly confirmed cases.
“At a time when we need cases to be going down, when more people are going to be going inside, when our kids are going back or will be back in school, we need to do better," Gov. Andy Beshear said. "If we want to keep doing some of the activities that we’re doing now, we need to keep doing better.”
Kentucky would have set another weekly case record last week (its fourth in as many weeks) had the state not reported a large backlog from one county on Oct. 7, which artificially inflated that week’s case data with 1,472 additional cases.
Prior to the current “escalation phase” of the virus in Kentucky — the state’s third since March, according to Beshear — it was averaging around 520 hospitalizations and 130 patients in the ICU.
According to Monday’s report, 764 Kentuckians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and 190 are in ICUs, both record highs since at least Sept. 1.
Some 89 patients with COVID-19 are currently on ventilators statewide.
The state’s positivity rate stands at 4.97 percent. Beshear noted Monday after weeks below 5 percent, the rate is now “moving in the wrong direction."
Kentucky’s COVID-19 case fatality rate is around 0.9 percent, according to 91-DIVOC, which relies on data from the COVID Tracking Project and which is regularly cited by Health Commissioner Steven Stack, MD.
Case fatality rate only accounts for confirmed cases, excluding cases not found in a population due to lack of symptoms or mild symptoms.
The CDC placed COVID-19′s case fatality rate at around 4.2 percent among 82 countries sampled in June, adding: “Lower estimates might be closest to the true value, but a broad range of 0.25 percent–3 percent probably should be considered.”
Around 66 percent of Kentucky’s hospital beds are filled (with COVID and non-COVID patients,) and 71 percent of its ICU beds are occupied, giving the state some headroom to contend with the current case escalation. But both Beshear and Stack warned that headroom could quickly diminish if the current escalation “takes off.”
Stack spoke Monday about vaccine development and Kentucky’s initial distribution plan, saying a vaccine could be available to frontline workers before the end of the year and to all Americans by next summer.
“Initially, we’ll have to target certain populations to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible to the people who need it most,” said Beshear. "As we go forward in months from there, we’ll have progressively larger quantities of vaccine, and then we’re cautiously hopeful that by the time we reach the end of next year, everybody who has wanted the vaccine will have had the chance to have one.
The governor also noted Kentuckians don’t need to wait for a vaccine to get back to normal — to get the state’s restaurants and bars back to 100-percent capacities, for example. They need only follow the steps proven to work so far: mask use, good hygiene, avoiding large groups, social distancing and staying home if stick.
“We only see cases increase when we let our guard down,” he said.
“This is very serious,” Stack added, “but it doesn’t mean it has to prevent us from getting on with our lives."