The federal government’s coronavirus map for Kentucky shows a higher level of virus transmission and an increased risk of the Covid-19 disease.
Nineteen Kentucky counties are red on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national Covid-19 risk map, indicating a high level of coronavirus transmission. Last week, only seven were red.
Twenty-eight Kentucky counties are yellow, indicating a medium level of transmission. Last week, 21 were yellow. The rankings are based on new virus cases, hospital admissions and hospital capacity.
The red counties are Ballard, McCracken, Livingston, Crittenden and Lyon, in Western Kentucky; Woodford, Fayette and Clark in Central Kentucky; Carter, Greenup, Boyd and Lawrence in the northeast; and Martin, Pike, Wolfe, Breathitt, Knott, Perry and Leslie in Eastern Kentucky.
Six of the seven red counties from last week’s map are red again this week, including McCracken, Crittenden, Pike, Greenup, Carter, and Boyd.
In red counties, state guidelines call for wearing masks in indoor public spaces, limiting in-person gatherings, limiting the size of gatherings, and social distancing.
“When your county is red, you need to really think about stepping up the things you do to keep yourself from getting Covid,” Gov. Andy Beshear said at his weekly news conference Thursday, a few hours before the release of the new map. His warning was mild, but still contrasted with what he said at last week’s news conference: “This is the safest we have been in this pandemic.”
The 28 yellow counties are Hickman, Carlisle, Graves, Marshall, Calloway, Caldwell, Monroe, Taylor, Hardin, Nelson, Jefferson, Grant, Franklin, Scott, Bourbon, Montgomery, Powell, Jessamine, Madison, Owsley, Lee, Magoffin, Letcher, Harlan, Bell, Lewis, Rowan and Elliott.
The CDC says people in yellow counties who are immunocompromised, or at high risk for severe illness from the virus, should talk to a health-care provider about whether they need to wear a mask or take other precautions.
Beshear opened his weekly Covid-19 update by noting a figure from the state’s weekly report, issued Monday: 16,004 deaths in Kentucky attributed to the disease. He acknowledged their loved ones’ grief and encouraged them to seek mental-health care if in need.
“These are 16,004 children of God who will be missed by their communities, whose families are still mourning whether it happened the first day of Covid or is the most recent death,” he said. “Let’s remember that people are still out there hurting.”