The escalation of COVID-19 in Kentucky is once again gaining steam, Gov. Andy Beshear said on Monday, warning, “every single indication of how much COVID we have in the commonwealth is going up.”
Those rising metrics include the volume of hospitalized patients, those in intensive care units, and those relying on ventilators to breathe, the governor said in an afternoon news conference. In the last three days in Kentucky, 105 more people were admitted to hospitals with COVID-19, pushing the total to 1,077. Patients sick with coronavirus in intensive care units have risen by 26 since Saturday, to 310, and the amount on a ventilator is up to 155, an increase of 13.
Over the weekend, Kentucky reported 3,544 new cases and 135 deaths. On Monday, another 1,347 new cases and 63 deaths were confirmed, making it the third straight day with an excess of 60 reported deaths. Those deaths included a 38-year-old woman in Boyd County, a 43-year-old in Shelby County, a 23-year-old in Morgan County, a 36-year-old in McCreary County, and a 49-year-old in Whitley County, Beshear said. The rate of Kentuckians testing positive is 9.13%, up slightly from Sunday’s 9.02%.
Last week also brought the largest volume of new cases in nine weeks — 15,875. “We are certainly not headed in the right direction,” Beshear said. “With that much COVID heading into the holidays, we need to be careful.”
Though unvaccinated people continue to drive spread, a handful of factors are contributing to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth, including waning immunity among people who are fully-vaccinated, persistently high transmission rates of the delta variant, and an uptick of indoor social gatherings as the colder weather sets in.
“If there’s one takeaway from today, get your booster shot before Christmas,” Beshear said. And to those who haven’t gotten their initial dose, “Get vaccinated.”
As for omicron, the newest variant of concern found in 17 states so far, Kentucky has not yet confirmed a case. But it’s more than likely already here.
“We have not confirmed a case of omicron, but that said, it’s been detected in so many states, it would almost be surprising if it was not here,” he said.
More than 15,000 people got their first dose of a vaccine over the weekend. Roughly 61% of the state population is at least partially vaccinated, and 53% are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.