The Governor has reported 15,403 new COVID-19 cases in just three days.
“We are at a really tough point once again in our war against COVID-19. We have successfully stopped three waves of this virus, but we are now seeing a real and significant increase in cases and our positivity rate from people’s gatherings around the holidays,” said Gov. Beshear. “I wish it hadn’t happened. We’ve got to make sure that moving forward we are not gathering in that way, and we’ve got to know that we wear a mask now to protect ourselves.
“You need to be wearing a mask anywhere outside of your own household. It’s gotten that bad and these mutated versions appear to be spreading really fast.”
According to the most recent White House Federal Report for Kentucky, the state’s fall and winter surge has been at “nearly twice the rate of rise of cases as the spring and summer surges.”
The report continues: “The acceleration suggests there may be a United States COVID-19 variant that has evolved here, in addition to the United Kingdom variant that is already spreading in our communities and may be 50% more transmissible.
“Aggressive mitigation must be used to match a more aggressive virus: Without uniform implementation of effective face masking (two or three-ply and well-fitting) and strict social distancing, epidemics could quickly worsen as these variants spread and become predominant.”
The White House report recommends the creation of high throughput vaccination sites, continued active vaccination encouragement by the Governor, health officials and other community influencers and televised vaccinations, as Gov. Beshear and state officials conducted Dec. 22, in addition to four more group vaccinations where photos were shared with the media on Dec. 23, Dec. 28, Jan. 4 and another set on Jan. 4.
The Governor also shared guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which directly conflicts with the policies outlined in Kentucky House Bill 1 that would strip the Governor of emergency powers to enact some restrictions that have saved thousands of lives during the pandemic and are supported by Kentuckians.
A recent poll indicated 66% of Kentucky voters approve of the way the Governor has handled the pandemic. The COVID States Project, a consortium of top universities, in its latest report, finds solid majorities of Kentuckians support all seven COVID-restriction categories, which includes 85% supporting restrictions on large gatherings, nearly 74% backing limits on restaurants and 67% supporting limits on in-person school instruction.
The CDC advises: “Given the potential for a rebound in the number of cases or level of community transmission, a low threshold for reinstating more stringent mitigation standards will be essential.”
The Governor also suggested the bill was both counterproductive and contradictory: “The CDC reopening plan written into the guidance that would become law in this bill says that if we’ve got cases going up instead of two weeks of cases going down, things should be shut down. This is the problem when you put guidance into law that was never intended to be law: House Bill 1, based on what it references, may be requiring a shut-down of Kentucky that does not and should not need to happen.
“Also, is House Bill 1 saying that restaurants have to be open but people aren’t allowed to go in them? That makes no sense.”
As of 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 4,750
New deaths today: 13
Positivity rate: 11.9%
Total deaths: 2,856
Currently hospitalized: 1,748
Currently in ICU: 393
Currently on ventilator: 217
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Oldham, Kenton, Warren and Morgan. Each of these counties reported 150 or more new cases; Jefferson County alone reported 758.
To see a list of those reported lost to the virus today, click here.
Condolences for U.S. Capitol Police Officer Killed in Line of Duty
The Governor said he was heartbroken to learn a Capitol police officer has died after sustaining injuries from the attack on our U.S. Capitol by domestic terrorists.
“This is what happens when you foster disrespect, hate, and division,” said Gov. Beshear. “Every public servant must be responsible for their words and the messages they send. Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family.”
Vaccine Progress Update
The Governor said 107,799 initial vaccine doses have been administered across the state; 47,385 have been administered since Monday’s report, which Gov. Beshear said highlights the impact of the state’s push to dramatically speed up vaccinations in the commonwealth.
“A shot that sits in a freezer for an extended period of time is no use to anyone,” said Dr. Stack. “Because it is incredibly difficult to find everyone who meet very specific, discrete criteria, and because, unfortunately, there is a substantial portion of the population who is opting to wait for the vaccine or has some concern or hesitancy about it, at the end of the day, we want every vaccination administration site to give at least 90% of the vaccine that reaches the state within seven days, even if that means moving to people in a lower priority category who are willing and able to receive it.”