40% of adults vaccinated, but work remains, especially at spring break

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Some 1.3 million adult Kentuckians have been vaccinated — 40 percent of the adult population — have received at least their first dose of one of three highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, but much more work remains to be done to reach the goal of 80 percent of the population

That work includes immediate measures such as continuing to practice safety at home and on spring break to longer-term commitment to health precautions, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday during his daily briefing.

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His comments included extending the state’s mask mandate for another 30 days, an issue that is tied up in court. The Republican-controlled Legislature Monday approved a resolution that contradicted the governor’s order, agreeing with some of his executive orders concerning the pandemic but not including others such as masks and capacity limits.

“We’ve now vaccinated about 40% of Kentucky adults – a really exciting milestone. We also believe we’ve vaccinated about 70% of Kentuckians who are age 70 and up,” said  Beshear.

All Kentuckians 40 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. By April 12, all Kentuckians 16 and older will be eligible. To see all vaccination sites, visit vaccine.ky.gov. To see a list of vaccination sites that have openings this week, visit vaccinemap.ky.gov.

“Kentucky has been and remains the best performing state of all of our seven border states in terms of the percentage of our population that has had at least one dose of the vaccine – and that’s whether you look at the total population, the population 16 or older or the population 65 or older,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “Please get the very first vaccine that’s available to you.”

The governor and Dr. Stack emphasized that while cases are declining in Kentucky as vaccines increase, it is too early to relax all precautions, as the more contagious B117 COVID-19 variant spreads in the commonwealth and across the country.

“We now know that in at least 15 counties across the state, we have found COVID-19 variants, the predominant one being the B117 variant (associated with the United Kingdom) and also some cases of the South African variant as well,” said Dr. Stack.

“It’s really important that you take the vaccine as soon as you have the opportunity because if we allow this virus to spread too rapidly by not getting vaccinated, it has more of an opportunity to mutate and change, learning how to get more effective,” Dr. Stack added.

“We’ve got to have other states get to the other border states to levels where we are, we’ve got to get everyone there…we are shooting for 80 percent,” Beshear said of vaccination levels and the goal of herd immunity when the state could possibly lift all restrictions.

But he repeated warnings.

“We certainly still are at risk,” he said, citing spring break travels and how the state saw increased case numbers following other holidays and vacation periods. “We just have to be careful…trust me, I will be the happiest person in the state when we can remove them all.”

“”That’s what happens if we give up too early, we cannot do that. We are seeing other places pay the price,” the governor continued, referring to increasing numbers in some states and even nationwide.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, March 29, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

New cases today: 310, which was slightly above last Monday but below two weeks ago.
New deaths today: 11
New audit deaths: 0
Positivity rate: 2.89%
Total deaths: 6,042
Currently hospitalized: 364
Currently in ICU: 87
Currently on ventilator: 41

Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Kenton, Carter and Harlan. Each county reported at least 15 new cases.

To see a list of those reported lost to the virus today, click here.

To help protect lives to finish the fight against COVID-19, the Governor signed an executive order extending Kentucky’s mask mandate for another 30 days.