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Health experts explain why COVID infections may be rising in specific Kentucky counties

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 3:54 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 at 4:00 PM CST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - COVID-19 maps of Kentucky reveal a number of hotspots where positivity rates far outnumber statewide figures.

County health officials shared their perspectives on why some regions appear to be hit harder by COVID. One finding is that low vaccination rates continue to lead to higher COVID numbers. Spencer County, for example, has one of the state’s highest COVID positivity rates, at 43.41%.

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KDPH COVID-19 map as of Jan. 20, 2022
KDPH COVID-19 map as of Jan. 20, 2022(KDPH COVID-19 Dashboard)

“32.87% of Spencer County residents are fully vaccinated,” Todd Martin, the public information officer for the North Central District Health Department, said. “And that number does trail our north central district and many other counties in the state.”

Hardin County also has high numbers — a positivity rate of 40.61%. However, health officials there said that higher positives are being driven in part by more people being tested.

”Our ready access to this testing, I believe, is translating to a higher positivity rate,” Dr. John Godfrey, the Baptist Health Hardin chief medical officer, said. “Whereas in our smaller surrounding counties, maybe they don’t have access like we do. So, we all know that more testing is a good thing and we’re trying to encourage folks to do that.”

Godfrey also said people are now much more likely to get tested if they are having symptoms. Hardin County’s 40.61% positivity rate translates to 278.3 cases per 100,000 people — 56 points higher than the state as a whole.

Officials caution against looking at the numbers and jumping to conclusions.

“The important point with that is don’t hang your hat on just one set of data,” Sara Best, the Lincoln Trail District public health director, said. “But you need to look holistically and at different variables in making these determinations.”

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