FRANKFORT – (KT) While new cases and deaths attributable to COVID-19 both rose on Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear says the numbers are still trending lower. He also announced an increase in vaccine is coming.
A total of 1,255 new positive cases were reported to state public health officials on Tuesday, but while that is a jump from Monday’s 723, but the governor says it is still the lowest Tuesday in more than a month. It also brings the pandemic total to 390,762 in Kentucky.
The state’s two most populous counties, Jefferson and Fayette, were the only ones reporting more than 100 new cases, with 217 and 129 respectively. The other top 10 counties were Kenton 56, Boone 51, Hardin 50, Warren 42, Shelby 41, Daviess 34, Campbell 30, and Nelson 27.
Deaths rose from nine on Monday to 27 on Tuesday, raising the state’s total to 4,318. “Even with more vaccine out there, we’re still losing far too many people,” Beshear said. “I do think that the trend is starting to change.”
The latest victims’ ages ranged from 54 to 92. Daviess and Kenton counties each had three; there were two deaths in Barren, Boone, and Harlan counties; while Bath, Boyd, Edmonson, Fayette, Jefferson, Madison, Mason, Mercer, Ohio, Powell, Pulaski, Rowan, Shelby, Warren, and Wayne had one apiece.
The number of hospitalized Kentuckians declined to 935 on Tuesday, making it two days in a row below 1,000. There were 272 in the ICU and 133 on a ventilator, both slight increases from Monday.
The positivity rate was 6.58%, up just 0.01% from Monday, based on a seven-day rolling average.
The number of red counties, those who have the strongest guidance on restrictions, dropped to just over half of the state on Tuesday. “We’re down to 63 red counties,” he said, “when for months on end, all 120 were red, week after week.”
Gov. Beshear said he had a telephone conversation Tuesday with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, with more good news.
“Starting next week, we’re getting another 29% increase in our vaccine supply. That’ll mean since the new Administration took over, they have increased our weekly amounts by 57%. We’ll have gone from getting roughly 53,800 doses a week to 87, 860 doses next week.”
He noted that the federal pharmacy program is being doubled. “We believe that is going to increase the number coming into Kentucky in that program from about 13,000 to about 26,000. We don’t administer that directly, but in that phone call today all the governors talked about wanting to really wanting to coordinate with that program, make sure it’s following our priority of individuals.”
In addition, the governor said Johnson and Johnson told the federal government that once their vaccine is authorized, which is a single dose version, they are going to deliver 100,000,000 doses by the end of June. He anticipates Kentucky will receive 1 million doses.
Beshear also said they may consider eases some restrictions, if Kentucky continues its current trend this week. “If we have six week in a row that are decreasing, we can look at increasing capacity that’s allowed by some amount. We probably won’t see a huge jump, but it may be meaningful in some circumstances.”
The Kroger regional vaccination site in Frankfort will reopen Wednesday, he said, and that the ones at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green and the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington would be open Thursday.
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 on the pandemic is Thursday afternoon at 4, which can be viewed on both his YouTube channel and Facebook page. His office is expected to release daily numbers on Wednesday.