LEXINGTON, Ky. — As Kentucky is coming off of its sixth straight week of declining COVID-19 cases, Gov. Andy Beshear announced 530 new cases of the virus statewide on Monday, as well as 13 more virus-related deaths.
Monday’s tally of new cases is the lowest single-day increase since Sept. 28. All other coronavirus metrics either remain stable or are steadily declining, including the positivity rate, which is 6.60 percent.
“They are going in a positive direction, perhaps the most positive since the pandemic began,” Beshear said. “What that means is we’re doing a good job.”
The state has now confirmed a total of 397,526 cases, and the death toll stands at 4,460.
Kentucky’s more than 50 regional vaccination centers will collectively begin offering doses of the coronavirus vaccine to those in priority group 1C starting on March 1, Beshear announced on Monday. 1C includes essential workers, people age 60 and older, and anyone over the age of 16 with certain at-risk health conditions — populations that collectively amount to nearly 1.3 million people. The state is asking that these sites prioritize those age 60 and older.
The state is asking smaller vaccination sites to begin that transition more slowly, in order to also target populations in 1A and 1B who have yet to access their first dose. While some vaccination sites have already begun intermittently doling out doses to those in 1C, the state has otherwise remained focused this month on inoculating people in 1B, which includes people are 70 and older, essential workers and K-12 personnel. Nearly 40 percent of the total doses the state has administered have gone to people over the age of 70.
At least 583,754 people in Kentucky have received at least their first dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. But the winter storms that hammered the state last week hobbled the federal government’s ability to distribute new doses locally. Kentucky was slated to get close to 71,000 doses last week, but it only received 6,825.
“This past week, weather did play a significant factor in the amount of vaccine that got out,” Beshear said. The remaining 64,000 or so doses will arrive this week, instead, on top of the state’s regular weekly allocation. The governor often says Kentucky has the infrastructure to immunize more than a quarter of a million people a week. The combined 150,000 or so new doses arriving this week will serve as an “early test about how to scale up,” Beshear said, in preparation for this summer, “when supply really picks up.”
In long-term care facilities, there are new positive cases among 26 residents and 21 staff. The number of new infections and deaths attributable to the virus in these populations has markedly dropped since mid December, when doses of the coronavirus vaccine first became available.
“Long-term care shows that these vaccines work, and as we get them out to the rest of the population, we ought to see our death numbers plummet, not just decrease,” Beshear said.
There are 870 people hospitalized with the virus — the lowest since Oct. 26. Of those patients, 243 are in intensive care and 119 are on a ventilator.
There are more than 360 locations across the state where Kentuckians can register for a vaccine. Visit vaccine.ky.gov to find a site near you.
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