Vaccine update, safe winter holidays guidance provided
On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on COVID-19 and said while new cases continue to plateau and the state’s positivity rate declines, the commonwealth set a record of newly reported deaths.
“Our death report today is by far the most people that we’ve lost," said Gov. Beshear. “I hope we don’t have another day like this, ever. These are 54 families that need our help and compassion and green lights. They also need us to do better.”
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The state’s previous record of 38 deaths was reported Dec. 2. Gov. Beshear took action on Nov. 18 to stop the rampant spread of COVID-19 and save Kentuckians’ lives while keeping the economy open.
The Governor announced that more shipments of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would be arriving in the commonwealth over the next two weeks for front-line health care workers and long-term care employees and residents.
Gov. Beshear also previewed a multimedia campaign to help all Kentuckians learn about the vaccine and its benefits to individuals, families and the commonwealth as a whole.
In the White House report this week, the Governor said Kentucky has seen stability in new cases and a decrease in our positivity rate. They also make recommendations to help protect those over age 65.
The Kentucky COVID-19 hotline, 800-722-5725, is now open 24 hours per day, seven days a week, for questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. The Governor noted this hotline cannot be used to schedule appointments for getting a vaccine; instead, it can be used to learn more about the safety of the vaccine. Gov. Beshear said he will continually update Kentuckians as the vaccine becomes more widely available.
While briefing Kentuckians today, the Governor received news that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to disturb the Sixth Circuit’s order allowing the Governor to require all schools to turn to virtual learning by executive order.
The court's order, which can be read here, did not dismiss the case on merit. Rather, because the expiration of the executive order was close to the January 4th date, the court did not feel it necessary to overturn the case.
Today, Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Department for Public Health, highlighted the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s (KDPH) winter holiday guidance, which includes:
-Limit the size of gatherings to two households and no more than eight people;
-Wear a face covering properly, sanitize hands often and stay six feet apart from other people;
-Do not host or participate in any in-person gatherings if you or anyone in your household, or if any of the invited attendees: Have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others; have symptoms of COVID-19; are waiting for COVID-19 viral test results; may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days; or are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19;
- Limit travel; and
- Keep gatherings outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces as much as possible.
“Let’s not do Christmas in a way that would dishonor loving our neighbors as ourselves,” said Gov. Beshear.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 3,349
New deaths today: 54
Positivity rate: 8.45%
Total deaths: 2,316
Currently hospitalized: 1,817
Currently in ICU: 431
Currently on ventilator: 254
Kenton County: 178
Boone County: 171
Campbell County: 119
Grant County: 24