5 NKY counties out of ‘Red Zone’ with others eyeing exit

Even the region’s ‘red’ counties are as close to going ‘orange’ as they have been since October.

Gov. Beshear updates vaccine rollout, winter weather response in Kentuck

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Just five of Northern Kentucky’s ten counties are ‘red’ in Tuesday’s incident rate map as COVID-19 cases continue to fall in the region and across the commonwealth.

Kenton, Boone, Campbell, Gallatin and Grant remain ‘red.’

But in the last week, Mason, Bracken, Pendleton and Owen went ‘orange’ and Robertson went ‘yellow.’

COVID-19 incident rate map Tuesday, Feb. 16
COVID-19 incident rate map Tuesday, Feb. 16 (Source: Kentucky Department of Public Health)

The maps reflect average daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents.

‘Red’ counties, the most severe classification, have incident rates of 25 or greater. ‘Orange’ counties have 10-25, ‘yellow’ counties have 1-10 and ‘green’ counties have fewer than 1.

The region’s incident rates were below the state average for the first several months of the pandemic. During the statewide surge that began in late October, however, the region’s rates surpassed Kentucky’s other urban areas.

Northern Kentucky, like the rest of the state, had been entirely red since then. But cases began plummeting in mid-January.

Now, even the region’s ‘red’ counties are as close to going ‘orange’ as they have been since October.

That would mean Kentucky’s Red Zone Reduction Recommendations, including those around in-person learning, would no longer hold in Northern Kentucky’s largest counties.

Gov. Andy Beshear did warn Tuesday the current case decline could precede a rise in cases in spring as new variants spread across the country.

Research suggests some of the new variants are more contagious than the original virus and could result in a small decrease in the effectiveness of some vaccines, though the research is far from final, and the vaccines appear to remain very effective at preventing severe disease.

In that vein, the governor was quick to note a spring surge due to the variants isn’t a foregone conclusion if Kentuckians continue to wear masks, practice good social distancing and get vaccines if they’re eligible.

COVID-19 Update

Kentucky recorded 1,255 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 27 virus-related deaths.

The positivity rate continues to decline incrementally. The current seven-day average is 6.58 percent.

Deaths continue to decline in long-term care facilities, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

On the vaccine front, a 29 percent increase in vaccine allocations will mean Kentucky will see 87,860 doses delivered next week.

That reflects a 57 percent increase from the 53,800-odd weekly doses it received at the beginning of the rollout.

The federal pharmacy program, which will run through Walgreens and Good Neighbor-branded independent pharmacy locations, will see a doubling of doses as well.

Next week Kentucky will see 26,000 doses move through that program, according to Beshear.

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