Kentucky COVID-19 positivity rate drops to nearly two-month low

Published 8:40 pm Friday, October 1, 2021

Kentucky’s COVID-19 test positivity rate dropped into single digits for the first time in nearly two months Friday, but the virus continues to exact a heavy toll on the state.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 4,118 new coronavirus cases and 34 more virus-related deaths, pushing the statewide virus death toll past 8,800. The newest reported deaths included two Kentuckians as young as 36, the governor said. Younger people have been hit hard by the fast-spreading delta variant.

But in a hopeful sign after a prolonged surge of the virus, the rate of Kentuckians testing positive for COVID-19 dipped to 9.67% — the first time it’s been below 10% since Aug. 3, Beshear said.

The state reported 1,900 virus patients hospitalized in Kentucky, including 553 in intensive care units. Both totals were down from the prior day, continuing a recent downward trend that the Democratic governor emphasized Thursday while warning that hospitalizations remained far too high.

“If we went back a month and a half, where we are right now would rightfully scare the heck out of us. So let’s make sure that that decline continues,” he said Thursday.

Meanwhile, Kentuckians can now tap into the state’s COVID-19 website to help them search for health care facilities that provide monoclonal antibody treatment.

Supplies of the therapy are limited because of high demand nationally, Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, said Thursday. For people infected with COVID-19, the treatment can help give their immune system a boost, helping reduce the likelihood of hospitalization, he said.

“Based on the available inventory, we fulfill as fully as possible every request,” Stack said. “Now the last two weeks, we have not been able to meet 100% of the requested doses. But we’ve been able to come close.”

Kentucky received about 6,100 antibody treatments this week, about 800 fewer than last week, Stack said. The number of weekly COVID-19 cases and virus patients hospitalized are part of the calculation to determine the amount of antibody treatments the federal government allocates to each state.

“Obviously, the hope is the disease will go down, we’ll need less of this and everybody who needs it will have access,” Stack said. “That’s the hope. At the moment, that’s not the reality but hopefully we’re not that far off.”