Beshear to detail Delta variant in Kentucky on Monday


UPDATE: Governor Andy Beshear held a briefing Monday afternoon on the variant and issued new mask recommendations.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says he will be holding a briefing Monday afternoon on the delta variant of COVID-19 that is causing a surge in cases across the Commonwealth.

We’ve seen a little more than 2,400 cases of the virus in the last five days. We won’t know the final total for the week until Monday, but we are already higher than what we’ve seen in previous weeks.

Some other trends we watch have also surged this week, including the positivity rate. Just less than a month ago, we were below 2% with 1.79, and Friday it was up to just under 4.5%. Since Monday, it’s gone up more than one percentage point.

For a little over a month, we didn’t see any red counties, but there were five on Friday’s report:

For a little over a month, we didn’t see any red counties, but there were five on Friday’s report. (Kentucky Public Health)

While most of these cases are being reported in unvaccinated Kentuckians, UK Hospital did tell us they have seen some breakthrough cases, meaning people who are fully vaccinated tested positive for COVID. However, those cases are mostly mild.

“The vaccine does its best work at preventing severe disease, which is what we care about the most,” said James Grubbs, assistant professor of infectious disease at UK. “If people continue to not get vaccinated, there is risk the incidents rates will go up.”

Right now, 233 people are in the hospital with COVID, including 70 in the ICU and 30 on a ventilator. We don’t know how many of these cases are the delta variant. A couple health departments have told us it takes two to three weeks to get lab results back that identify the strain in each case.

The Lexington Fayette-County Health Department says they will begin tracking breakthrough cases of COVID. They say that data could become available as early as Monday.

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