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Jessamine remains in COVID ‘red zone’

With another record-breaking number of weekly COVID cases, Jessamine County remains in the state Department for Public Health’s red zone for communities with critical levels of spread of the potentially deadly virus.

According to the Jessamine County Health Department’s Nov. 12 COVID-19 summary, there had been 1,258 cases of the virus confirmed in the community.

Of those, 145 were reported during the week ending Nov. 8. That is the most new cases of the virus ever reported locally in a single week by far.

The previous record was 112 cases reported the week ending Oct. 18.

The week ending Nov. 1 saw the third most cases, with 104.

Already this week, there have been 65 new cases reported.

Of the total cases, 229 remain active, 1,005 have recovered and 29 people were hospitalized as of Thursday morning.

There have been 24 deaths in the community attributed to the virus, with the majority of those involving residents at the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore, which is experiencing an outbreak of the virus.

Despite the outbreak at the veterans center, the majority of local cases remain among the 18 to 30 range with more than 300 of the total cases involving that age range.

There have been more than 5,800 COVID tests performed by the Jessamine County Health Department, with an overall positivity rate of 3.4 percent.

The positivity rate last week, though, was 10.76 percent, up from 10.19 percent the week prior, and higher than the state’s positivity rate of about 7.5 percent as of Tuesday.

The highest local positivity rate was recorded the week of Oct. 19-26, when it reached more than 16 percent.

Of those testing positive locally, 63 percent have been asymptomatic.


In the red zone

With a seven-day incidence rate of 26.9, Jessamine remains in the red zone.

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.

Statewide, the incidence rate was 39.5 on Tuesday.

In neighboring counties, Woodford and Garrard were listed orange, which is for communities with accelerated spread and an incidence rate of 10 or higher but less than 25, and Fayette, Madison and Mercer counties were listed in the red, which is for counties with an incidence rate of 25 or higher.

As of Tuesday, all Kentucky counties were listed in either the red or orange zones.

This is the second week Gov. Andy Beshear has asked businesses and individuals in red-zone counties to follow a nine recommendations that, among other things, call on employers to allow people to work from home and ask individuals to avoid gatherings of any size and stay home as much as possible. Other recommendations call on schools in red counties to have remote-only instruction next week and tell long-term care facilities to further restrict visitation.

Jessamine County Schools opted this week to return to virtual learning because of the critical spread of the virus in the community.

“We know what will work,” Beshear said. “We just need everybody, everybody willing to do it … I don’t think, at this moment, it’s an issue of more mandates. It’s an issue, that’s fair to say [of] encouragement and enforcement to get people to wear the darn masks.

“If you’re not wearing a mask, I really want you to wear a mask. And I’m not trying to tell you to do it because I want to invade your liberty. I’m doing it because I want you to survive this thing and not harm anybody else.”


Statewide, national numbers

Statewide, there were record numbers of new cases reported last week.

On Sunday, Beshear reported that the last Monday-to-Sunday reporting window saw the highest COVID case total in a single week, with 12,421 new cases reported, beating the previous high of 11,774 by almost 500 cases.

“This virus is spreading in communities in every corner of the commonwealth, and everyone, from our businesses and schools to individuals, must do their part to stop the spread and save lives,” Beshear said. “Without each of us doing our part, the rampant spread will continue to take more Kentuckians.”

On Wednesday, Beshear reported 2,700 new cases of the virus, the most ever reported in a single day.

As of Thursday morning, there had been 127,344 cases in Kentucky and 1,604 deaths.

The state’s positivity rate was about 7.5 percent as of Tuesday.

There were an average of 1,774 new cases of the virus reported each day last week seven days, according to the Kentucky Health News data.

“That is about double what it was four weeks ago and about triple what it was eight weeks ago,” Al Cross reported for Kentucky Health News.

The majority of cases have been among those 20 to 29, with more than 23,000 cases in that age range. The majority of deaths have involved those 80 and older, though, with 776 deaths reported in that age range.

Hospital numbers declined slightly. Kentucky hospitals had 1,102 COVID-19 patients, 279 of them in intensive care and 148 of those on ventilators.

As Kentucky sees a surge in the virus, so does the nation. On Saturday, there were a record number of cases reported in one day in the U.S.: 126,742.

There have been more than 10 million cases of the virus in the  U.S. leading to more than 238,000 deaths.

Worldwide, there have been more than 50 million cases and at least 1.26 million deaths.

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0049.

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