The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 across Kentucky has dropped below the peak reached during the winter pandemic surge, signaling that the virus is indeed receding across the commonwealth, Gov. Andy Beshear said on Monday.
Though the spike in infections between July and September was more severe than all previous surges, dropping back below last year’s peaks shows how dramatically the volume of patients in hospitals and intensive care units has dropped in recent weeks.
On Monday, 1,193 people were hospitalized with the virus, 337 were in an ICU and 219 were breathing on a ventilator. That’s significantly fewer than a month ago, on September 18, when 2,348 people were in the hospital with COVID-19, 647 were in an ICU and 455 were on a ventilator.
“Just about everything is moving in the right direction, and actually, at a speed [that shows]it is a real trend,” Beshear said. “What we are seeing are real drops.”
On top of declining hospitalizations, the week-over-week case totals and statewide positivity rate also continue to decrease. After weeks above 10%, it dropped on Monday to 7.36%, down from 8% on Friday. Four weeks ago, Kentucky’s positivity rate was 12.70%. Over that three day period, 3,256 new cases were also confirmed — 678 of which were reported on Monday.
While prevalence of the virus thins statewide, deaths from the virus have yet to wane significantly. Since Saturday, Kentucky logged 103 deaths — 50 on Saturday, 22 on Sunday and 31 on Monday. Fifteen children are hospitalized with coronavirus — four of whom are in an ICU and three are on a ventilator.
More than 62% of Kentucky residents are at least partially vaccinated, with overall immunization rates lagging most in rural parts of the state, including south-central Kentucky.
Over the weekend, 8,624 doses were administered — a little over half of the dose volume typically administered in a weekend, Beshear said. But that’s par for the course; convincing more people to get vaccinated “is going to get harder and harder as we go,” he said.