MURRAY – For the first time in months, all shopping precincts are seeing a drop in COVID-19 cases. Not only are cases declining, but incidence rates for all eight Purchase counties are lower than 87% of counties in the state, according to the weekly report released Monday by the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH).
For Calloway County in particular, KDPH reported 51 cases, down from the 84 reported the week before. The county’s incidence rate fell to 18.7 from 30.8 on Monday; However, the positivity rate has more than doubled from 4.97% to 10.88%.
The latest Community Levels Map released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last Thursday showed Calloway at the medium (amber) level for the second straight week. Notably, two weeks ago, the county was yellow because the case rate was above the threshold (200 cases per 100,000 population), even though hospitalization metrics (new COVID admissions per 100,000 population and % of inpatient beds occupied by staffed by COVID patients) were below the threshold threshold values (10 and 10%, respectively). Last week, the case rate dropped to 174.35 cases per 100,000 population; However, the county remained yellow as the number of new COVID registrations rose to 10.4.
Jeff Eye, vice president of patient care services at Murray-Calloway County Hospital, said there were no COVID-positive patients in the hospital as of Friday; As of Tuesday afternoon, there were seven inpatients who had tested positive for COVID. Of these, three were admitted because of their symptoms; The remaining four were admitted for other reasons but tested positive upon admission.
“Sometimes every patient that we have on the list that has COVID is here for COVID symptoms, and sometimes it’s a small percentage,” Eye said. “It’s not really consistent. We’ve had single digit numbers of people being admitted because of COVID all along, but it’s jumping around. … With the people who are admitted for COVID symptoms, we still see that the patients are doing fairly well and can be discharged in a relatively short time.
“Last week in the walk-in clinic, they saw 260 walk-in patients, about 13% of whom tested positive for COVID,” Eye said. “Not all of those 260 came in with respiratory symptoms, but about 13% of the patients had COVID. Yesterday they saw 52 walk-in patients and just under 10% tested positive for COVID. Mathematically, the number of people who have tested positive is slightly down relative to our business. In general, people feel like they have a pretty bad cold or catch bronchitis, but they’re fine.”
Eye noted that with all the changes in home testing and reporting, it’s harder to make predictions based on the published numbers. “I can’t tell you if it was a big increase that was undercounted or if this is just a sustained slow increase,” he said. “It’s still out there, and we still have a fairly large number of patients who have tested positive, but we’re not seeing anywhere near the impact of hospitalization that we saw in January. From a hospital capacity standpoint, we’re doing fine; and the region seems fine.”
In a Facebook post Tuesday, the Calloway County Health Department adjusted its recommendations to reflect Calloway’s mean community level and its downgrade from red to orange on the state’s incidence rate map. “Keep up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters,” the post reads. “Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including testing, if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19. Follow the CDC community recommendations for our area. For community-level recommendations, see: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html.”
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