FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- Kentucky’s post-holiday bump in COVID-19 deaths continues, while new cases and state’s positivity rate are seeing decreases, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.
“This is still a dangerous time in America,” he said during a Wednesday virtual press briefing. “The risks of spread and of harm to you and your family are still some of the highest they’ve been. And, our number of deaths is still heartbreaking, mainly due to that exponential rise. Every day we have thousands of cases, we are going to have significant numbers of deaths.”
There were 47 more deaths on Wednesday, with the victims’ ages ranging from 46 to 99. That brings the pandemic total to 3,542.
Eight were from Jefferson County; six from Menifee County; five from Daviess County; Warren County had four; Hart County had three; two were from Christian and Harman counties; with one each in Barren, Campbell, Fayette, Graves, Green, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Ohio, Rowan, Todd Wayner and Webster counties.
There were 2,424 new cases of the coronavirus reported to state public health officials. “That number is far too high,” Beshear said, "but it is the lowest Wednesday in four weeks. When we look back at Jan. 6, there were 5,742 cases of COVID-19. Today, less than half of that.”
Three counties had over 100 cases: Jefferson 330, Fayette 180, and Daviess 102. The remainder of the top 10 counties were Kenton 88, Boone 82, Warren 76, Pike 70, Madison 67, Pulaski 62, and Hardin 56.
Kentucky’s positivity rate continues its decline, and currently stands at 9.35%. Compared to the rate just one week ago, Jan. 20, of 11.29%, it represents a nearly 2 percent drop.
State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack discussed variants of COVID-19. “We have found now for the first time in northern Kentucky, in Kenton County, two individuals who tested positive and have been subsequentially found to have the B117 Variant, the one we believe was first found in the United Kingdom. That variant is more contagious, or in other words, it spreads more easily.”
Stack said it’s not more dangerous than the previous version of the coronavirus, “But since more people can get it more quickly and more easily, that means you could have more people who get sick, and more people who die. Not because it’s more lethal to those who get it, but because a lot more people can get it.”
He noted the two Kenton County residents who were infected by the B117 Variant are doing well and are not in the hospital.
Stack added that because of the more rapid spread of the new variant, “It is more important than ever that we wear our masks, that we stay six feet or more from each other, and that we wash our hands.”
Beshear said that the 17% increase in vaccine allocation to each state means that instead of 56,000 doses per week for the state program, there will be an additional 8,800, or 64,800 in all. Beshear has sent a letter to federal officials asking that they double the weekly allocation. So far, he says he has not received an answer to that request.
To see the full daily COVID-19 report for Kentucky, which includes such information as the red zone counties and red zone recommendations, testing locations, the weekly White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky, executive orders, vaccine distribution, and other information on the state’s pandemic response, go to kycovid19.ky.gov.
Gov. Beshear’s next live press briefing will be Thursday afternoon at 4, which is available on his Facebook and YouTube pages. He is expected to have more information on regional COVID-19 vaccination sites that are supposed to begin operating on Monday.