Jessamine continues to see COVID surge
The U.S. is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases unlike anything since the pandemic hit, and Kentucky and Jessamine County are no exception.
Last week, the nation and state saw record-breaking single-week cases of the potentially deadly virus, which arrived in the U.S. early this year.
Locally, Jessamine County is quickly approaching the 1,000-case mark.
Jessamine County numbers on the rise
With more than 200 new COVID cases reported in the past two weeks, Jessamine County remains in the red zone, according to the Kentucky Department of Public Health Wednesday and the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s Oct. 18 report, which is the latest available.
As of Wednesday’s COVID-19 report from the Jessamine County Health Department, there had been 989 positive cases reported in the community.
Of those, 154 remained active and 14 were hospitalized.
The county has reported 13 deaths attributed to the virus. Of those, at least eight have been connected to a recent outbreak at the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore. There have been at least 124 cases reported there among residents and staff.
During the week ending Oct. 18, Jessamine saw a surge in cases, reporting 112 new cases that week. Last week, which ended Oct. 25, there were 87 new cases reported.
There were 14 new cases reported Monday, 17 reported Tuesday and 14 reported Wednesday, totaling 45 new cases so far this week.
Despite the increase in cases at the veterans center, the vast majority of local cases remain among the 18 to 30 age range, with nearly 250 of the total local cases being among that age range.
As the community sees an increase in cases, the local positivity rate, which is the ratio of positive cases compared to the overall number of tests performed, has skyrocketed to more than 16 percent last week. The previous week, the rate was barely more than 5 percent.
There have been 5,484 drive-through tests conducted at the Health Department as of Monday.
The department is still offering drive-through testing. To schedule an appointment, call 859-885-4149.
State continues to see ‘frightening’ surge
On Sunday, Gov. Andy Beshear said Kentucky also set a new record for the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a week since the pandemic began, with 9,335 positive cases reported last week.
The previous highest week of COVID-19 cases was Oct. 5-11, when the commonwealth reported 7,675 new cases. Sunday also marked the highest number of new cases ever reported on a Sunday, with 1,462 cases.
That report followed a “frightening” report of new cases Saturday, when Beshear announced a record-breaking number of new cases reported in a single day: 1,738.
In a press release issued last week, Beshear said the White House Coronavirus Task Force is recommending that those in red or orange risk-level counties limit gatherings to immediate family only.
Jessamine is listed as in the red at the state level, with an incidence rate of 26.7 per 100,000. The seven-day incidence rate is calculated by taking the total number of unique cases in each county over the past seven days, divided by seven to get a daily average, divided by the U.S. Census Bureau county population, and multiplied by 100,000 to get the incidence per 100,000 people.
Counties in the red are categorized as having critical spread, or an incident rate greater than 25.
Neighboring Garrard and Fayette counties are also in the red. Other neighboring counties are in the orange.
The governor noted Kentucky already has guidance limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people, such as at backyard barbecues and house parties. But the recommendation from the White House this week goes even further.
“There is so much spread at family gatherings, events at the house, as well as weddings and funerals,” Beshear said. “At the very least, we need people to be a lot more cognizant of the dangers of these gatherings, especially when people aren’t wearing masks the whole time.”
Beshear said one wedding resulted in 44 cases, one funeral caused seven cases and one coffee gathering resulted in eight cases and two deaths.
As of Tuesday afternoon, which is The Journal’s press deadline for the Thursday edition, there had been 97,866 cases reported in the state, and 1,410 deaths.
The majority of cases remain among the 20 to 29 age range, with more than 18,000 of the total cases occurring among that group.
The majority of deaths have been among the 80 and older group, with 697 deaths reported of the 4,835 total cases in that group.
Jefferson and Fayette counties continue to account for a majority of the cases in the state at 22.19 percent and 10.71 percent respectively. Those counties also account for more than 30 percent of the state’s deaths attributed to the virus.
Nearly 2 million COVID tests have been performed in the state with a 5.84 percent positivity rate.
At least 17,881 people have recovered from the virus.
Beshear continues to ask Kentuckians to take the necessary precautions to stop the spread of the virus, including limiting gatherings, mask wearing, hand washing, surface sanitizing and social distancing.
“The difference between where we are now and where we were in March is that now we know how to stop the spread,” Beshear said last week. “It’s like being in the challenge of your lifetime, it’s like being in a war — except you know 100 percent how to win. The question is, are you going to execute the plan to win?”
U.S. has record-breaking week
In the U.S., the seven-day average of new cases was the highest it has ever been as of Sunday, with an average of 68,767 new cases reported each day of the previous week. The most recent high seven-day average was 67,293 as of July 22.
There have been more than 8.6 million positive cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S. as of Tuesday, and more than 225,000 people have died because of complications from the respiratory virus.