Kentucky capitol dome

The dome of the Kentucky state Capitol is lit green to remember those who have died of COVID-19 and their families.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Health officials on Tuesday confirmed 1,017 new COVID-19 cases in Kentucky and 18 more deaths in which the virus was a contributing factor, according to a report from Kentucky Public Health

Of the new cases, 242 were reported in Jefferson County, data shows.

As of Wednesday, data from the Kentucky Department for Public Health shows only 35 of Kentucky's 120 counties were in the red zone, which represents a "critical" community spread of the virus and calls for residents to follow "reduction recommendations" from the stateAt the beginning of February, 108 counties were in the red zone. 

Jefferson County moved out of the red zone on Tuesday, when its COVID-19 incidence rate fell below 25 average daily cases per 100,000 residents. On Wednesday, the county's rate fell from 24.9 to 19.8. 

The 18 deaths announced Wednesday bring Kentucky to 4,336 reported since COVID-19 was first confirmed in the state in March 2020. Among the victims Wednesday were three women, ages 72, 87 and 93, and two men, ages 73 and 89, from Jefferson County. 

Kentucky's positivity rate, which measures the proportion of coronavirus tests returning positive, rose for the second day in a row but remained just below 7%. The rate jumped from 6.58% on Tuesday to 6.99% on Wednesday, according to Kentucky Public Health. 

"We have made incredible strides against this evil virus, but we can’t let up yet," Gov. Andy Beshear said in a news release. "Even Kentuckians who have been vaccinated should continue to mask up, social distance and keep any gatherings small. Team Kentucky, we are so close to getting through this together, but we must remain vigilant and run through the finish line to slow the spread and save as many lives as possible."

According to the state's vaccination dashboard, 538,595 Kentuckians as of Wednesday had at least received their first dose of the two-shot coronavirus immunization. 

As of Wednesday, 934 Kentuckians were hospitalized with COVID-19, according to Kentucky Public Health, while 259 were being treated in intensive care units. More than 120 patients were on ventilators.

For most people, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. The vast majority of people recover. Of Kentucky's 391,772 confirmed cases reported since March, at least 46,225 have recovered, according to Kentucky Public Health.

But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

To find a COVID-19 testing location near you, click here. To find out if you're eligible for a vaccine and for more information on Kentucky's vaccination process, click here.

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