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WKYT Investigates | Kentucky’s COVID-19 cases surge in September

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 2:57 PM EDT
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KENTUCKY (WKYT) - We are coming out of a month of record-setting COVID cases.

The number of new cases in the month of September was the highest ever in Kentucky’s fight against COVID-19.

Just tracking our monthly totals, we saw a trend here, a continual increase and a real boost in the summer months. We jumped from 14,000 to 19,000 to now 21,000.

You can see that summer jump even better when we look at the three-day average of new cases. That average hovered above 500 most days in July, August, and September.

We wanted to take a closer look at September’s total to break down where we saw the most cases last month.

So, here’s how we did it. We looked at the number of new cases in each county on the first of the month and compared them to the number of new cases on the last day of the month.

That gave us a percentage and here’s a map of our findings:

The darker the county, the higher the percentage.

If we take a look at the counties with the largest increase in cases last month, we’re talking about rural counties here. Estill increased their case count by 269 percent. Union County is close, with 257. Followed by Knott, Letcher, Mercer, Greenup, and Whitley.

Most Northern Kentucky counties had the smallest increases. Gallatin at four percent. Followed by Carroll, Butler, Bracken, and Casey.

“Right now we have a slow, sustained increase over the last two months, and I think that’s because people are closer together and I think we have incomplete adherence or compliance with wearing the masks and the distancing and the hand hygiene,” said Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner for Public Health.

Dr. Stack won’t call this a surge. He considers a surge a big spike meaning we’re immediately in trouble.

This is a steady increase, that he says we need to be aware of.

He says we need to continue to follow all guidelines.

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