Gov. Andy Beshear praised Kentuckians for their efforts in thwarting the spread of the novel coronavirus, announcing that case numbers and the positive-test rate keep trending down, and the federal government is sending more vaccine.
“We are seeing really good compliance out there. Keep it up,” Beshear said. “Right now you’re showing that we can win. We can decrease cases just through our behavior, and this is at the same time that we’re vaccinating, so all that’s good.”
Beshear announced 2,339 new cases of the virus, bringing the state’s seven-day rolling average to 2,032, which is 15 less than Monday.
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days dropped again, to 7.66 percent. “This is a good thing,” he said.
Asked if the state’s case numbers are lower because fewer people are getting tested, Beshear said testing numbers are in a “generally good place.” In addition, he said the decline in the positivity rate supports the low case numbers. He said it’s too early for vaccines to have had an impact on case numbers.
While Kentucky’s case numbers have generally declined for a month, so have other states’, so the state ranks seventh in new cases in the last seven days.
Beshear said he had not heard of any more variants of the virus being reported, beyond the one today in Jefferson County.
He cautioned that the existence of these highly contagious variants doesn’t necessarily mean case numbers will go up because wearing a mask and social distancing and the other public health strategies are “still pretty effective.”
“The variants make everybody nervous,” he said, “but they don’t change the game plan and what it’s going to take to protect ourselves until we’re out of this and what we do to get out of it in terms of vaccinations.”
Beshear said the number of Covid-19 deaths is still “stubbornly high” after he announced 35 more, 16 from Louisville. That took the state’s death toll to 4,126. The 14-day death average is the same as yesterday, 45.1 per day.
Also, all of the hospital numbers are up, with 1,204 Covid-19 patients in Kentucky hospitals (up 41 from yesterday); 282 in intensive care (up eight) and 148 of those on ventilators (up six). Beshear said these increases are within normal variations.
For the first time since the state started reporting hospital capacity on a regular basis, none of the hospital readiness regions reported ventilator use, ICU use or overall patient numbers above 80% capacity.
Schools: The state’s K-12 school dashboard shows that 182 schools have never reported their case or quarantine numbers, and last week 401 of them did not. Schools have been asked to self-report daily.
Asked about that, Beshear first commended schools that regularly report, saying they are “living their values of being transparent.” He voiced disappointment in the rest, “because what they do is they remove the real information . . . that they need” in deciding whether to send a child to school or not, especially as the state works toward getting every school open to in-person learning in some capacity.
“It’s highly disappointing that schools would not be reporting, and I would not feel safe with my children going to the ones that do not,” he said. “That would not give me confidence that those schools are doing everything it takes to battle Covid because they’re not doing everything it takes for public health and local health departments and others to know the situation in their schools.”
Asked what he is doing about it, he said the state is encouraging them to participate, and “that’s probably where it’s going to be.” He added, “I think we should all be disappointed that there are schools that claim they can keep our children safe, but won’t show us the data that backs it up.”
Last week, 1,295 students and 523 staff tested positive for the virus, resulting in 5,197 students and 738 staff being quarantined, according to the dashboard.