Gov. Beshear: ‘This is a race,’ vaccines urged as 41 COVID variant cases reported in Kentucky

Gov. Beshear: ‘This is a race,’ vaccines urged as 41 COVID variant cases reported in Kentucky
Governor Andy Beshear provided an update Monday on COVID-19 in the commonwealth and the continued vaccine rollout. (Source: Governor Andy Beshear/Facebook)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky governor Andy Beshear provided an update Monday on the commonwealth’s ongoing vaccination rollout and continued efforts against the spread of COVID-19.

Monday’s update began with an announcement that $4.3 million would go towards funding parks and outdoor spaces in Kentucky through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The funding will go to 41 projects across multiple counties to help improve parks and recreational outdoor areas.

Beshear also spoke about his visit to Louisville to the largest mass vaccination pop-up clinic at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage Saturday. Around 2,500 individuals were able to get vaccinated during the 12-hour event.

“Our healthcare providers throughout the commonwealth, including UofL Health, have been great partners as we take vaccinations into the community, making sure every Kentuckian gets their opportunity at a shot of hope,” Beshear said.

Monday’s report confirmed 310 additional cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. Total number of cases since the pandemic began is now at 425,333.

There are now 41 cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky that are either the UK variant (B.1.1.7) or the South Africa variant (B.1.351). Beshear said it was a race to make sure the variant cases don’t surge, urging Kentuckians to get vaccinated as soon as they can.

“We have to get enough people vaccinated before this thing mutates further, and before the B.1.1.7, that’s the UK variant, becomes the dominant strain in Kentucky because it spreads faster,” Beshear said. “This is a race, and therefore, we need people to go in and get the vaccine as soon as possible.”

Beshear also reported 11 additional deaths due to COVID, bringing the total number of Kentuckians who have died due to the virus to 6,042.

Positivity rate based on a seven-day rolling average is now at 2.89%.

In vaccination updates, Beshear announced that 1,310,912 Kentuckians have been vaccinated. The governor said this means about 40 percent of the population in the commonwealth aged 18 and up have received a vaccine.

“That is really exciting, the pace continues to be a great positive,” Beshear said.

Other information provided in Monday’s update includes:

  • Patients currently hospitalized : 364
  • Patients currently in ICU : 87
  • Patients currently on a ventilator : 41
  • Long-term care facilities: 3 new resident cases, 4 new staff cases, 1 new death

Beshear also announced plans to extend the mask mandate as the previous executive order expires.

The governor’s mask mandate extension comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s director kicks up concerns by stating she “has a feeling of impending doom” as she talks about new virus variants spreading. The director plans to ask all governors on Tuesday to extend the mask mandate.

Because of the pandemic, Kentuckians and Hoosiers have sacrificed a lot, including Brandy Reece; she didn’t have the wedding she originally planned.

“Half of my wedding party and family couldn’t make it because they all had COVID at the time,” Reece, who is from southern Indiana, told WAVE 3 News on Monday. “That was probably the hardest time for me.”

Despite the fact her wedding wasn’t the same without them, Reece is now looking ahead at the long-term, realizing how fragile life is. She said she agrees with Beshear’s decision to extend the mask mandate in Kentucky, and wishes the same choice had been made by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.

In Indiana, Holcomb is downgrading the mandate to a mask advisory; the Hoosier state will allow local governments to determine if masks are mandatory for each community.

“If the masks isn’t on everyone, its a bigger chance of getting COVID, still,” said Reece. “It’s not gone.”

Dr. Steven Patton, a physician at Norton Community Medical Associates at Preston and the medical director for community outreach at Norton Healthcare, said there needs to be continuous masking and vaccinations in Kentucky, Indiana and around the world until there is herd immunity.

“Remember to do what is right for you. Go at your own time,” Patton said. “Its your life — your family’s life — at risk here. You want to do what’s best for them.”

Beshear said Monday his administration will continue to roll back COVID restrictions in phases, but dropped restrictions will continue to depend on how many people get vaccinated and the rate of the virus’ spread.

To find a regional vaccination location, click here. Other sites include those set up through partnerships with Kroger, Walmart, Walgreens and other local businesses and pharmacies:

To find out who falls under each vaccine phase, click here. Individuals who want to know if they qualify for the vaccine can click here to fill out a survey or call (855) 598-2246.

The Kentucky COVID-19 Hotline can help with all other vaccine questions at (800) 722-5725.

For additional information on COVID-19 in the commonwealth, visit the Team Kentucky COVID-19 website.

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WAVE 3 News Now. Watch Anytime. Anywhere. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

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