LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Compared to most of its neighboring states, the coronavirus has been a far deadlier threat in Kentucky.
The latest statistics from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family services show 5.85% of the 1,008 people in the state with COVID-19 died from the disease.
"I just don't know our denominator number, the number of actual cases, is reflective of what the community is seeing. It is just a small sample right now," said emergency room physician Dr. Ryan Stanton about the state's death rate. "I don't know the health of Kentucky is going to help us by any stretch of the imagination, but we also have an older population. People who have been dying are kind of critically ill. It's been getting into places such as nursing homes, long-term care facilities and among the elderly."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released for the first time this week a report showing that 78% of COVID-19 patients in ICUs in the United States had an underlying health condition, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lung disease. The CDC report was based on a sample of under 6% of reported coronavirus infections.
Kentucky ranks among the worst states for the percentage of residents with diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. An estimated 39.4% have high blood pressure, 36.6% are obese and about 13.7% have diabetes, according to the 2019 America's Health Rankings from United Health Foundation.
Nationally, the median is 32.2% with high blood pressure, 30.9% obese and 10.9% with diabetes.
Of Kentucky's border states, only West Virginia had fewer total confirmed cases of COVID-19 while Illinois had the most.