Today, Gov. Andy Beshear warned Kentuckians that COVID-19 continues to spread at a frightening pace within the commonwealth and across the United States.
As of this morning, two companies, Moderna and Pfizer, have announced their vaccines appear to be more than 90% effective as clinical trials continue. The Governor said he hopes this great news will inspire all Kentuckians to keep fighting the virus in the months before those vaccines become widely available.
“We need everybody with this news to buckle down, to make sure you are making good decisions each and every day because people’s lives depend on it,” said Gov. Beshear. “If we can just get to the point where this vaccine will be widely available, we can make sure we don’t lose people. We need your help. This is now a time-limited virus. So if you’re tired, now you can see the end. Let’s get our second wind.
“Today, we’re talking about where this virus is; tomorrow, we’re going to share some modeling about where we think it’s going; and then on Wednesday, if we don’t see a change in the numbers, we’ll talk about some additional steps that we may have to take to try to get this virus under control.
“If we have to take additional steps, it will not look like what we went through in March, in April and into May. At that time, we did not have enough testing; we had almost no PPE to protect those in hospitals; we didn’t know the most effective ways to treat this virus so the mortality rate was through the roof; and we didn’t know as much about the spread. If we have to take additional steps, they will be more targeted.”
Today, Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander also updated Kentuckians on the state’s efforts against COVID-19 in long-term care facilities.
“We are working around the clock to continue to do all that we are able to combat what is a vicious, highly contagious disease,” said Secretary Friedlander. “Among 382 long-term care facilities with active cases, 38 have at least 15 active cases, a dramatic rise from the 15 facilities with at least 15 active cases as of Oct. 30. There’s a continued need to balance the emotional and mental well-being of residents and their family members and the harsh reality of this pandemic.”
The Kentucky Department for Public Health will mobilize strike teams to hard-hit facilities, and the Kentucky National Guard also will mobilize 10 non-clinical support teams. Guidance has been updated with regard to communal dining, group activities and offsite travel, including a recommendation that residents leave a facility only when medically necessary and for needs that cannot be met on site or through telehealth.
“Holiday visits will need to look different this year. If a resident leaves a facility for an outing, the resident will be expected to go into quarantine upon returning to the facility,” said Secretary Friedlander. “We continue to encourage compassionate care, televisits and outdoor visits.”
As of 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 1,514
New deaths today: 3
Positivity rate: 8.98%
Total deaths: 1,664
Currently hospitalized: 1,442
Currently in ICU: 360
Currently on ventilator: 128
Those reported lost to the virus today include a 66-year-old woman from Graves County; a 63-year-old woman from Henderson County; and an 83-year-old woman from Jefferson County.