US-NEWS-CORONAVIRUS-KY-MCT

A COVID-19 particle is pictured in this image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

LEXINGTON — (TNS) For the second week in a row, Kentucky has zero counties at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s high COVID-19 community level.

The state added 2,262 new cases of COVID-19 last week, which amounts to 581 fewer cases than the week before.

Additionally, there are 20 counties at medium COVID-19 community levels, down from 30 the previous week. The remaining 100 Kentucky counties are at low community levels, according to CDC data, updated Thursday.

Fayette County and all adjacent counties are at low this week.

The CDC recommends masking indoors in public when in a county that is at a high community level. The levels are based on weekly totals of new infections and hospital admissions, along with weekly averages of staffed, COVID-occupied hospital beds.

According to the most recently available data from the Kentucky Department for Public Health, current as of March 6, Kentucky has a virus incidence rate of 7.99 per 100,000 individuals.

Last week, the commonwealth recorded 36 new coronavirus deaths, pushing the state’s death toll to 18,130 since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

The national and public health emergencies related to COVID-19 will end officially May 11, meaning 260,000 Kentuckians will need to either re-certify for Medicaid or explore other options for health insurance.

“During the public health emergency, folks could apply for Medicaid and they would keep their Medicaid. They would always keep their Medicaid, no matter what their eligibility status,” Kentucky’s Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander said Thursday during a news conference.

Friedlander urged Medicaid recipients to be on the lookout for a notice to re-certify in the mail. Those notices will start going in April, he said.

Once someone has received a notice, they’ll have to re-certify for Medicaid, and if they no longer qualify, they’ll either have to purchase a plan on Kentucky’s health care exchange or buy a private plan through their employer.

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