FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state’s COVID positivity rate declined again Wednesday.
And Gov. Andy Beshear also reminded Kentuckians the federal government will increase each state’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines and guarantee a minimum supply for three consecutive weeks.
“The top-line message on vaccines is the same as it has been: Our one issue is supply. If we had three issues, they would be supply, supply and supply. We’ll figure out the distribution and we’re going to continue to improve. Our only limitation at this point is the number of doses we can get from the federal government,” Beshear said during his briefing Wednesday.
The Governor said the state had three specific challenges, all related to a limited supply of the vaccine.
First, the small number of doses the state receives compared to the very large number of health care providers who would like to distribute it. Second, the state does not have enough vaccine doses or small enough vaccine batches to distribute them equitably on a county by county basis – instead the state is distributing equitably by region.
Finally, as the state moves into larger and larger phases, the type of infrastructure needed from providers to accommodate patient needs changes.
Beshear said Thursday he will announce more information on the state’s regional vaccine partners and the first Kroger Health regional vaccination center.
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH), spoke to Kentuckians about the implications of the United Kingdom (UK) COVID-19 variant, after two cases of the strain were confirmed Tuesday in Kenton County. He also encouraged individuals to keep getting tested for COVID-19 and reminded them it was normal if they experienced mild side effects after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The vast majority of COVID-19 mutations have no clinical meaning, they don’t functionally have an impact on us if we’re infected. But some of the mutations do cause the virus to be more effective,” said Dr. Stack. “The COVID-19 B117 variant, the one we believe was first found in the United Kingdom, that variant is more contagious. If you get exposed to it, you’re more likely to be infected, so that means it can infect more people more easily.
“It’s not more dangerous or lethal for the person who gets it, but because it spreads to more people more easily, you could have more people who get sick and die. It is more important than ever that we wear our masks, watch our distance, wash your hands and stay at home and get tested when you are sick.”
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 2,424
New deaths today: 47
Positivity rate: 9.35%
Total deaths: 3,542
Currently hospitalized: 1,597
Currently in ICU: 387
Currently on ventilator: 225
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Daviess, Kenton, Boone and Warren. Each of these counties reported 75 or more new cases; Jefferson County alone reported 330.
To see a list of those reported lost to the virus today, click here.
Today, the Governor honored Ernest A. Bates, who was a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) inspector with the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction for over 13 years. He passed away at age 76 from COVID-19.
“Outside of the 13 years with the state, Ernest was in the HVAC trade for over 48 years. He took pride in his work, knowing his efforts were helping the citizens of the commonwealth. Ernest stayed busy,” said Beshear. “He enjoyed buying and restoring old tractors, barbecuing, visiting with friends and camping. He was also a member of Rumsey United Methodist Church. More than anything, Ernest enjoyed being with his family, who are now mourning his loss.
“Ernest is survived by his wife of 28 years, Nancy, his son, Alan, who also works as an HVAC inspector in state government, his stepdaughters, Robin and Toni, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Today we lift his family in prayer and give thanks to the many years of service Ernest gave to the commonwealth.”
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman also provided an update on the state’s broadband speed test. The crowd-sourcing project will gather data from Kentuckians needed to expand internet home access for distance learning, telework and telehealth.
Individuals can take the free, anonymous speed test from Jan. 19 to Feb. 18 here.
“One week into our speed test, 31,400 households have participated so far. In our first week, we have just about outpaced other states that began their speed tests six months ago,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “The counties that have the highest participation rates so far are Scott, Harlan, Caldwell, Woodford and Lyon – thank you for making this a priority. We need everyone, no matter where you are from, to participate.”
To view the full daily report, incidence rate map, information on testing locations, vaccines, contact tracing, school reports and guidance, guidance for health care providers and the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and more, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.