COVID SPIKE: Western KY cases rise to February levels

Coronavirus Watch

Our western Kentucky counties are seeing a surge in COVID cases the like of which we haven’t seen since February. Last week, July 11-17, the western Kentucky counties we cover added 408 new cases; the week before there were just 185 new cases.

We cover these counties in Kentucky: Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, Hopkins, McLean, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Union and Webster counties.

Webster, Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties have the highest incidence rate in western Kentucky. Last week alone, Hopkins added 103 new cases; the most new cases in one week since the end of January. Webster added 31, and Muhlenberg reported 85 new cases.

Hopkins County health officials have been warning about the Delta variant which has been reported in two neighboring counties. Deaconess Health says the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is now the dominant variant circulating in the community.

Clay Horton of the Green River District Health Department, which covers Webster County, says more than 90% of new cases are of those unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Hospitalizations are still low.

Our western Kentucky counties have been slowly chugging along when it comes to vaccinations. As of Monday, Hancock County has the highest rate of vaccinations, with 44.8-percent of its population fully vaccinated. In Hopkins County, 37.9-percent have been fully vaccinated. The vaccination rate is lower in Muhlenberg at 36.5-percent, and 31-percent in Webster County.

Due to the spread of the Delta variant, Governor Andy Beshear is now recommending some Kentuckians start masking up again. On Monday, Beshear urged frontline workers and those at high risk due to preexisting health conditions to wear masks, even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Kentucky Department of Public Health last week released new guidance on ways schools can help slow the spread of COVID-19 as the 2021-2022 year begins. The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending masks in schools for anyone over the age of 2. And the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the CDC is “carefully looking” at its COVID-19 school guidance.

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