Positive-test rate drops below 9% after falling for eighth straight day; hospital cases decline, but a record number are ventilated








By: Al Cross

Posted on: December 12, 2020


Category: Courts , Governor , Contagious Diseases

Positive-test rate drops below 9% after falling for eighth straight day; hospital cases decline, but a record number are ventilated



Kentucky Health News graph (cases reflect initial unadjusted daily reports); click on it to enlarge.
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the novel coronavirus dropped for the eighth consecutive day, to 8.86%, a decline of 1.21 percentage points since the record of 10.07% set on Dec. 3.

A press release from Gov. Andy Beshear's office said the decline was a result of restrictions he imposed Nov. 18 and "Kentuckians' sacrifices."

The release quoted Beshear as saying, “These numbers are still high and we are still watching for any increases related to the Thanksgiving holiday, but we are making progress in our fight against this invisible enemy. I hope this gives everyone the courage and grit to keep going, to keep doing what we know is right, things like wearing a mask and staying socially distant, because we know they are working.”

Court action: One of Beshear's orders, limiting indoor social gatherings to no more than eight people from two households, was upheld Friday by U.S. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove, who has ruled against Beshear on other issues.

Van Tatenhove, of Lexington, said the order "restricts our liberty, but not in a way that offends the First Amendment." Under state law, "The governor has broad discretion to make policy choices that restrict our liberty to protect our health and that of others." The lawyer who filed the suit said he would appeal.

The suit also challenged the application of Beshear's ban on in-person schooling to church and other private schools, but Van Tatenhove declined to rule on that, noting that his earlier order against the ban is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Brett Kavanaugh could rule on that emergency appeal of an appellate-court ruling for the ban, or refer it to the whole court.
 
Daily numbers: The state reported 3,691 new virus cases Friday, raising its seven-day rolling average slightly, to 3,292. The top seven-day average was 3,440, set Dec. 5. The averages smooth out large fluctuations in daily cases.

Hospitalization numbers, which are more stable, declined 2% to 1,717 Covid-19 patients, 432 of whom are in intensive-care units. Of those, 253 are on ventilators, which is a record. Almost 59% of ICU patients are on ventilators, which if not a record is the highest of any day in the last six weeks.

Beshear confirmed 28 more deaths from Covid-19, raising the state's toll to 2,168. Almost all were from the Lake Cumberland region; there was no explanation. All its 10 counties are served by a district health department.

One-fourth of the fatalities were from Adair County: three women, 57, 62 and 80; and four men, 57, 66, 77 and 88. Other Covid-19 deaths in the region were two Casey County men, 69 and 99; two women, 86 and 92, and two men, 80 and 81, from Clinton County; a Cumberland County woman, 60; two Pulaski County men, 75 and 88; two Russell County men, 51 and 82; and from Wayne County, a woman, 81, and a man, 80. Other Covid-19 deaths were a Fayette County woman, 63, and a Jefferson County woman 85.

In other coronavirus news Friday:

  • Counties with more than 10 new cases were: Jefferson, 513; Fayette, 244; Kenton, 161; Boone, 144; Pulaski. 142; Warren, 110; Hardin, 104; Campbell, 84; Boyd, 73; Daviess, 621; Shelby, 61; Madison, 58; Harlan, 53; Boyle, 52; Bullitt, 52; Laurel, 49; Mercer, 46; Hopkins, 45; McCracken, 43; Taylor, 42; Christian, 40; Spencer, 39; Jessamine, 38; Grant, 37; Whitley. 37; McCreary, 36; Nelson, 36; Anderson, 32; Fleming, 31; Russell, 30; Simpson, 30; Calloway, 29; Montgomery, 29; Lincoln, 28; Mason, 28; Clinton, Trimble and Wayne, 27; Clark, Greenup, Henderson and Knox, 26; Adair, 25; Scott, 24; Oldham, 23; Perry, 22; Allen, Henry and Meade, 21; Bell and Marshall, 20; Barren, Floyd and Graves, 19; Bourbon, Franklin, Grayson and Marion, 18; Magoffin and Rockcastle, 17; Carroll, Cumberland, Gallatin and Logan, 16; Caldwell, Garrard and Ohio, 15; Powell, Rowan, Todd and Washington, 14; Carter, Casey, Hart and Muhlenberg, 13; Green, Harrison, Letcher and Martin, 12; and Breathitt, Breckinridge and Leslie, 11.
  • Hospitals in Lexington pleaded with people wanting coronavirus tests to use one of the many free testing sites instead of going to an emergency room. They said other hospitals around the state have the problem.
  • President Trump's chief of staff told Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn to approve the first coronavirus vaccine for emergency use by close of business Friday or submit his resignation, The Washington Post reports, citing three unnamed sources. Hahn said that was "an untrue representation" and the FDA would act quickly. Two other sources said the agency moved up its timetable to Friday night from Saturday. "The White House actions once again inject politics into the vaccine race, potentially undermining public trust" in vaccines, the Post's Josh Hawley and Laurie McGinley write. UPDATE, 9:20 p.m.: The FDA issued the authorization after "Hahn ordered vaccine regulators at the agency to do it by the end of the day," The New York Times reports. Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler told NBC that FDA employees told him "This decision was made on science and data."
  • United Parcel Service's Louisville hub is handling all the vaccination kits and half the doses for the Pfizer vaccine, WDRB reports.
  • A snow leopard at the Louisville Zoo showed symptoms and tested positive for the virus, apparently infected by an asymptomatic worker. Tests are pending on two other leopards with symptoms; all are expected to recover, the Courier Journal reports.

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Tags: Courts , Governor , Contagious Diseases


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