As COVID numbers remain high, state encourages holiday precautions

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – On Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear said he hoped all Kentuckians will have a wonderful Christmas, encouraging them to keep gatherings small and safe so they may enjoy many future holidays with their loved ones.

“I want to make sure I start by asking everybody to make that additional sacrifice and do their part to keep their Christmas celebrations small,” said Gov. Beshear. “With the rest of the country on fire, with hospitalizations escalating in almost every other state, in Kentucky we are seeing a stabilization that is protecting the lives of our people, and we want to make sure that we continue to plateau or even see a decrease in cases as we move forward with this vaccine.”

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“How we do Christmas and New Year’s celebrations is going to be so critical to protecting as many Kentuckians as possible until we can get this vaccine disseminated. In my family, this Christmas will just be Britainy and myself, the kids and the dog,” he continued.

See all of the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s winter holiday guidance here:English full guidance,one-pager andsingle slide and Spanish full guidance, one-pager and single slide.

Earlier Tuesday, the heads of the three branches of Kentucky government Gov. Beshear, Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr., House Speaker David Osborne and Senate President Robert Stivers along with First Lady Britainy Beshear, Secretary of the Executive Cabinet J. Michael Brown and commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health Dr. Steven Stack each received their initial dose of the Moderna vaccine, ensuring the continuity of state government during this pandemic and demonstrating broad, bipartisan support for the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccination.

This morning, vaccinations also began at Thomson-Hood Veterans Center, which has been hit extremely hard by the virus. Army Private First Class Norris Hardison, the first resident to receive the vaccine, said: “I am not afraid. I want everyone to see me take it and know that it is safe.”

She added, “Every single person should get this vaccine. I have been talking to my family, and even my daughter, who is afraid of needles, is going to take it.Its the best way to protect us all from this COVID virus, and I am just so happy that its finally here.”

To view a photo of her vaccination, click here.

At least 8,839 Kentuckians outside of long-term care facilities have been vaccinated. The governor said he would update Kentuckians on vaccinations in long-term care facilities in the coming days as those numbers are updated by facilities that received doses this week.

He added that approximately 100,000 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine initial doses and 100,000 Moderna vaccine initial doses are expected in Kentucky by the end of the year, including those already delivered and deployed.

This includes a newly announced Dec. 27-31 allocation from Pfizer of more than 34,000 doses.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

  • New cases today: 3,057
  • New deaths today: 28
  • Positivity rate: 8.48%
  • Total deaths: 2,440
  • Currently hospitalized: 1,631
  • Currently in ICU: 419
  • Currently on ventilator: 223

Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Warren, Madison, Fayette, Kenton and Christian. Each of these counties reported 100 or more new cases; Jefferson County alone reported 468.

Those reported lost to the virus Tuesday include a 91-year-old woman from Boyd County; two women, ages 91 and 94, from Calloway County; a 66-year-old man from Casey County; two women, ages 64 and 87, and a 71-year-old man from Daviess County; a 67-year-old man from Fleming County; a 67-year-old woman from Graves County; two women, ages 57 and 63, and two men, ages 58 and 83, from Henderson County; a 67-year-old man from Henry County; a 67-year-old man from Hopkins County; a 74-year-old woman from Jackson County; a 53-year-old woman and a 62-year-old man from Jefferson County; an 81-year-old man from Knott County; three women, ages 86, 94 and 96, from Marion County; two men, ages 79 and 85, from McCracken County; an 87-year-old woman and a 59-year-old man from Monroe County; a 60-year-old woman from Perry County; and a 54-year-old woman from Todd County.

To view the full daily report, incidence rate map, testing locations, long-term care and other congregate facilities update, school reports and guidance, red zone counties, red zone recommendations, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and other key guidance visit, kycovid19.ky.gov.