Beshear: COVID fight continues moving in ‘right direction’
Kentucky has seen declining COVID-19 numbers for seven straight weeks
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/AP) — Kentucky’s long-running fight against COVID-19 continues to “move in the right direction,” with another round of weekly declines in new cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.
The Democratic governor reported 9,532 new coronavirus cases across Kentucky last week, compared with about 12,000 cases the week before. New virus-related cases statewide have declined seven straight weeks, Beshear said. Kentucky’s test positivity rate, which had surpassed 33% during the height of the omicron outbreak, was down to 4.17%, he said.
“While we still have some struggles, while this pandemic is still with us, things continue to move in the right direction,” Beshear said during a news conference. “And they are continuing to move at a regular pace. That means cases, positivity rates — all declining — as well as hospitalizations, those in the ICU and those on ventilators. Every metric is moving the right direction.”
While the pandemic is receding, the statewide death toll from the virus remains significant, the governor said. Beshear reported more than 280 deaths statewide last week, comparable to the prior week. That means that many families are “still struggling,” he said. Beshear said most of the people who died from the virus were not vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations was another metric that the governor indicated he would like to see improve. More than 6,450 Kentuckians last week got vaccinated for the first time, more than 8,000 received the second shot and more than 10,800 got their booster shot, he said.
“There’s something positive to those numbers, even though they’re less than we’d like, and it’s that they are not necessarily declining week to week,” Beshear said.
The state said 65% of eligible Kentuckians have been vaccinated against the virus, which translates into 2,894,264 people.
The governor said the state had not seen any cases of the sub-omicron variant of the coronavirus at this point.
Also, the Kentucky National Guard mission of serving in hospitals and food banks ended today.
During Monday afternoon’s briefing, Beshear encouraged lawmakers to include money in the proposed legislative budget for COVID-19 mitigation. The governor said without using American Rescue Plan Funding, like he included in his budget proposal, the K-12 COVID-19 test-to-stay program would end; the Community Antibody Administration Center (CAAC) program would cease; the community-based COVID-19 testing provided through Gravity Diagnostics and the University of Kentucky would cease; COVID-19 testing in Kentucky’s long-term care facilities (LTCFs) would cease or enter winddown as federal CDC money would run out and, the ability to support a 90-day PPE emergency supply and necessary warehouse storage space would be uncertain.
Beshear announced the weekly Monday afternoon COVID-19 briefings would be “paused” for now. He said they would resume if warranted based on that the virus does in the future. He will continue his Team Kentucky briefings on Thursdays.