Kentucky Governor Beshear urges vaccines, wearing masks to reduce COVID-19 spread


FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says while it still appears the state may be reaching a plateau, the current levels of new cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and Kentuckians on ventilators is still far too high to maintain, and those numbers need to decrease.

Beshear says the state has been able to handle previous surges and plateaus due to the ability to require masking, social distancing, online learning and in some cases canceling events or closing and limiting some nonessential business. However, the governor is no longer allowed to make those decisions.

12:38 past surges handle plateaus

“A plateau at the level we’ve reached, one that we could not reduce through masking because that authority was taken away, if we plateau at the level we’re at right now, we cannot sustain us in our hospitals,” Beshear said. “It is too much with too many people sick with more people per sets of cases getting sick because the Delta variant is more aggressive.

Beshear says even if this is the beginning of a plateau, the numbers are still far too high for the state and its hospitals to sustain. While hospitalizations are declining and ICU numbers appear to be in a plateau, Beshear said he is still concerned that the number of Kentuckians on a ventilator has not shown a decrease yet. According to the governor, this includes five children on ventilators due to COVID-19.

Along with encouraging more Kentuckians to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19, Beshear is again asking Kentuckians to wear masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, citing that mask requirements helped prevent the virus from further spread during the previous COVID-19 surges even before vaccines were available.

“Masking has flattened the curve every single surge we’ve had, and when I had the power to do it, we prevented our hospitals from being overrun. We were one of the only states that could say we had never experienced that, but now without that authority, look what’s happening,” Beshear said.

The state reported 4,099 new COVID-19 cases and 44 additional deaths, bringing the state to an overall total of 670,093 cases and 8,466 deaths throughout the pandemic.

The state’s positivity rate currently sits at 11.66%. This week’s positivity rate has also decreased from the past few weeks.

According to the governor, 60% of all Kentuckians have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. For those eligible, that number is at 70%.

Yesterday’s report. Wednesday, Sept. 22, showed 2,257 Kentuckians currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those patients, 651 are in the ICU and 453 are on ventilators.

For the first time in several weeks, yellow has returned to the state’s current incidence rate map with Clinton County listed as the only yellow county. Carlisle and Fulton counties have dropped from red to orange. The remaining 117 of the state’s 120 counties remain in red.

Kentucky current incidence rate map for Sept. 23, 2021. (Photo Courtesy: Kentucky Department for Public Health)

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