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Kentucky Coronavirus Hospitalizations per capita More than 2x Higher than Tennessee


Comparisons to Tennessee are commonplace in Kentucky and the state government response to the coronavirus has been no different. In the first weeks of economic shutdowns, some outlets compared the total number of cases in Tennessee to the number in Kentucky, criticizing Volunteer State Governor Bill Lee for not enacting more draconian economic constraints.

The widely used justifications for economic shutdowns was to avoid overwhelming the health care system, a universally desirable ambition. Now with five weeks of data available, the number of total hospitalizations related to COVID-19 is among the growing list of discrepancies between Kentucky and Tennessee, with Tennessee once again achieving more favorable results than the Bluegrass State.

Unlike Kentucky, Tennessee provides daily tracking of the number of hospitalizations through their publicly available online data. As of April 22nd, the total number of hospitalizations for the Volunteer State over the course of the pandemic is 775.

Though Kentucky does not make the data available daily in its own online portal, Governor Andy Beshear did provide the current total at his Tuesday, April 21st, daily press briefing, sharing that Kentucky had experienced 1,076 total hospitalizations. According to Beshear, 558 of those individuals have been sent to the ICU in total with 165 currently in the ICU.

Based on those numbers, Tennessee has experienced over 300 fewer hospitalizations in total. On a per capita basis, Kentucky has experienced 2.4 hospitalizations per 10,000 residents compared to only 1.1 per 10,000 residents for Tennessee.

It's worth noting that neither state is near its total hospital capacity however. Kentucky currently has 6,210 available hospital beds and 449 available ICU beds, far more than the current or projected hospitalizations or ICU bed needs for the state. Tennessee currently has 7,812 total available beds and 629 available ICU beds.

As noted previously by Pegasus Institute, comparisons of COVID-19 related deaths between the two states are even more shocking. As of April 21st, Tennessee reported 157 deaths related to COVID-19 compared to Kentucky's 177 total. When accounting for population differences, Tennessee has 40% fewer deaths than Kentucky.

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