As cases decrease, state passes grim milestone of 9,000 COVID deaths

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – On Thursday during his weekly Team Kentucky update, Gov. Andy Beshear said due to increased vaccinations and more Kentuckians wearing masks indoors, the commonwealth continues to see a decline in COVID-19 cases, test positivity rate, hospitalizations, ICU admittances and ventilator use.

“Building on last week’s monumental economic development news, companies continue to invest in our state and create quality job opportunities,” said Beshear. “We know that our future is right now.”

The Governor said Kentucky has now surpassed 9,000 deaths due to COVID-19, more than the state has lost in any modern war.

“While we are all excited about the trends and where we’re going, let’s remember that we’re going to live with these scars and trauma and loss for a long time. Let’s make sure that we give ourselves space and do something about it. And the No. 1 thing we can do is get vaccinated,” he said.

From March 1 to Oct. 6, 2021, 85.1% of COVID-19 cases, 91.2% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 82.8% of COVID-19 deaths have been among partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Kentuckians.

From March 2020 to May 2021, 74% of all COVID-19 deaths in the commonwealth were among those 70 and older; from June 1 to Oct. 6, 2021, only 47% of deaths were among those 70 and older.

“Even if you think you’re young enough to battle this thing off, if you are unvaccinated, you are in trouble,” said Beshear. “This thing is that deadly – please go out and get that shot. There’s a lot of protection if you are vaccinated.”

As of Thursday, 148 adult ICU beds are available in the commonwealth. There are 16 pediatric patients hospitalized due to COVID-19; six are in the ICU; and four are on a ventilator.

“As a dad, I know every time your kids are hurt, it’s a panic inside you,” the governor said. “If people say, ‘It’s only four kids on a ventilator’ – no. It’s four. And that is far too many.”

The Governor said next week he wants to hear from people across the state on why they are proud to be Kentuckians.

“Let me tell you, I am proud to be a Kentuckian. I am proud of your work during this entire pandemic. Getting up each and every day, doing the right thing to protect the lives of our people,” said Beshear. “So on social media next week, share why you’re proud to be a Kentuckian using  #TeamKentucky. Let’s get that positive news going around again like we did 19 months ago. Let’s come together and celebrate how far we’ve come as a commonwealth.”

The governor also honored Holocaust survivor and Appalachian civil rights attorney John Rosenberg, as well as his wife, Jean, and their two children, as Team Kentucky All-Stars. The governor thanked the Rosenberg family for their 50-plus years of extraordinary service to Team Kentucky, and in particular, Eastern Kentucky.

When John was just 7 years old, he and his family were kidnapped by Nazi soldiers from their apartment in Germany. They spent months in a detention camp but were able to escape to the United States in February 1940.

“What’s so remarkable about John is that he took one of the most traumatic, horrific experiences anyone could go through, and he turned his anger and pain into a lifetime of compassion and service,” said Beshear.

Before moving to Kentucky, John Rosenberg served in the U.S. Air Force and at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as section chief in the Civil Rights Division. In the summer of 1970, John and Jean Rosenberg – who also served at DOJ at the time – decided to move their young family and began a road trip across Canada and the United States.

“Fortunately for us, that road trip ended in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, and the Rosenbergs never left. They knew Eastern Kentucky was their new home and have strived to make a difference in their community ever since.”

John Rosenberg founded AppalReD of Kentucky, or the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, which has provided free, high-quality legal services to thousands of low-income or vulnerable families in 37 counties in Eastern and South Central Kentucky

He served as director for three decades before his retirement.

He also helped establish the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center in Whitesburg. Jean Rosenberg founded the East Kentucky Science Center and Planetarium, and together the couple has inspired their children to continue the family’s legacy in public service.

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