FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky recorded 1,003 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday, the smallest daily case increase since Dec. 26.
Weekly case totals (below) have now fallen four consecutive weeks for the first time since the pandemic began, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.
“The trends are all moving in the right direction, but that only happens from your hard work. We must keep this up because we do not want to lose this progress,” the governor said.
The state’s positivity rate is 7.78, more than five points lower than its January high.
The rate’s decline indicates Kentucky’s falling cases numbers reflect a real decrease of the virus and not just inadequate sampling.
Hospitalizations continue to fall. Currently 1,163 Kentuckians are hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 274 are in ICUs and 142 are on ventilators, all substantial decreases from early January.
The fallout of January’s post-holiday surge continues, as the state also recorded 40 new virus-related deaths.
But just 10 of those deaths comprise long-term care residents, furthering a trend of falling LTC deaths among daily death totals that reflects, according to Beshear, “vaccinations are working.”
Going forward, deaths should continue to fall in LTC facilities — and in the general population as well, Beshear said, giving rise to optimism about lifted restrictions.
“We are still pretty elevated,” he said. “But we are moving in the right direction. If we can see that continuing, we’ll see what we can loosen.”
For the fifth consecutive week, Kentucky administered more first vaccine doses than the amount it received from the federal government.
Kentucky administered 74,791 first doses of 202,650 provided in the rollout’s first three weeks, building up a significant backlog through Dec. 29. Every week since then, it has taken significant bites out of that backlog by administering more than 100 percent of the doses received that week.
Last week Kentucky received 68,475 first doses. It administered 72,175.
To date, Kentucky has received 490,975 first doses in total and administered 444,930 for a utilization rate of 91 percent.
The federal government is also administering a small number of doses in Kentucky’s federal prisons, VA hospitals and DOD facilities. Through that program, 17,186 additional first doses have been administered.
The 462,116 first doses administered reflects 12.7 percent of the vaccine-eligible population (ages 16 and up.)
Kentucky has released information on the demographics of those vaccinated for the first time.
Beshear said many of the vaccinations in those under 70 are from long-term care residents.
Kentucky continues to prioritize Phase 1B, especially those 70 and older, in its vaccinations.
More woman have been vaccinated than men, reflecting inherent disparities in healthcare and education, where many of the first vaccinations have occurred.
“I think this will even out more when we get to Phase 1C,” Beshear said of the gender disparity.
Black and African American Kentuckians have received around 4.3 percent of vaccinations where race is known despite comprising 8 percent of the state’s population, Beshear said.
Around 1.1 of vaccine where ethnicity is known have gone to Hispanic people. Beshear indicated the number is disproportionately low as well.
The Governor said addressing equity in vaccine distribution requires looking at three root causes:
- Programmatic causes, as the state needs to take additional, intentional steps to make vaccination programs more equitable;
- societal causes, because minority Kentuckians are not equally represented in medicine and education, so they were underrepresented among the first to be vaccinated; and
- historic causes of vaccine hesitancy among minority Kentuckians.
“Our underserved and minority populations haven’t been treated right in the past when it comes to vaccines, or even experimentation,” said Beshear.
“From the beginning, we knew Black and Latinx people were more hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccination. We’re committed to addressing these concerns.”
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