Virus numbers jump but governor remains optimistic with vaccines

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COVINGTON, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear visited two regional COVID-19 vaccination clinics on Friday, a day that saw new cases of the coronavirus jump by over a thousand from Thursday.


The governor went to the Kroger regional sites at the Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green and the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington.


In Covington, he noted the pandemic is not quite one year old, as Kentucky saw its first case on March 6, 2020.  “Yet, here we stand, with two effective vaccines and one on the way.  With 550,000 plus Kentuckians having received at least their first dose of the vaccine.  Over 12.5% of our population has been vaccinated.  We are not out of the woods yet, but that is a heck of a start.”


He said the regional centers are part of his plan to bring the vaccine to every part of Kentucky.  “We are committed to an equitable and just roll-out of this vaccine, where you don’t have to spend a whole day trying to drive three or four hours away, just to have the vaccine administered to you.”


Beshear noted the Covington center has made a lot of progress in a short period of time.  “In a little over a week, even with one day postponed, it has already administered more than 2,400 doses of vaccine to Kentuckians.”


He said with an eye to the vaccine allocation increasing to Kentucky, there will be 28 new sites opening next week, raising the total to more than 290 locations across the state.


“If we get that significant supply increase we expect in March and then we expect a very large one as we move into June, depending on when Johnson & Johnson is approved, we don’t want any waiting or any lag time.  No matter how much they give us, we want to be able to get 90% of it people’s arms in just that first week.”


A total of 1,993 new cases of COVID-19 were reported to state public health officials, more than double the number on Thursday, and breaking a three-day string of drops in the daily number of new cases.


Two counties had more than 100 new cases:  Jefferson 466 and Fayette 116.  The remainder of the top ten counties were Kenton 93, Boone 81, Daviess 57, Madison 54, Warren 46, Campbell and Laurel 44, and Hardin had 40.


There have now been 394,687 positive cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky.


Twenty-eight more deaths were reported on Friday, down from the 37 on Thursday, and bringing the pandemic total to 4,401. 


The latest victims ranged in age from 46 to 96.  Fayette and Jefferson counties had four deaths each; Barren, Laurel, and Wayne counties each had two; and there were single deaths on Anderson, Breckenridge, Clinton, Floyd, Garrard, Harlan, Monroe, Owen, Russell, Shelby, Taylor, and Washington counties. 


The number of Kentuckians hospitalized on Friday stood at 923, down 12 from Thursday.  Of them, 265 were in intensive care, and 131 on a ventilator, both of which were nearly the same as Thursday.


Kentucky’s positivity rate, which rose to 7.07% on Thursday, fell to 6.89% on Friday, based on a seven-day rolling average.


Another positive indicator on Friday was the number of “Red Zone” counties, those with incidence rates of 25 of more cases per100,000 population, continued to drop.  Only 39 of the 120 counties in Kentucky were in that category.  For several months, every county was in the red, until a couple of weeks ago.  The statewide average is 23.11 per 100,000 population.


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.


Beshear’s next scheduled live press briefing will be Monday afternoon at 4.  His office is expected to issue daily numbers on the pandemic, throughout the weekend.

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