FRANKFORT, Ky (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear provided the latest information on the coronavirus in Kentucky, including the omicron variant and vaccination statistics.
Governor Andy Beshear said that his son, Will, tested positive for COVID-19 and is generally asymptomatic, adding that his son is fully vaccinated and recently received his booster shot. The Governor and the rest of his family tested negative for the virus January 24. The Governor was tested twice and said he will continue to be tested daily and follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Governor Beshear joined today’s briefing remotely to provide an update on COVID-19 and tornado relief. He encouraged parents to get their children vaccinated and boosted if they are eligible.
“My son is generally asymptomatic, we believe because he is vaccinated and boosted,” said Governor Beshear. “In fact, he is shooting basketball right now, by himself. The vaccines and booster truly protected him.” Governor Beshear said among Kentucky children ages 5 to 11, only 13.3% are fully vaccinated.
“Approximately 25% of new COVID-19 cases reported each day in Kentucky are children. Vaccination provides assurance that children can remain in school and protected against COVID-19,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “For parents who have not yet vaccinated your children, I encourage you to talk with your pediatrician. It’s important that you make an informed decision and have confidence that you are taking important steps to keep your children safe from this disease that has caused so much harm to our families and communities.”
Some of the statistics mentioned on January 24 are:
- Number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose in Kentucky: 2,842,876
- Number of people who have received their vaccination booster in Kentucky: 1,002,347
- January 22, Cases: 13,797
- January 22, Deaths: 29
- January, Cases: 11,648
- January 23, Deaths: 25
- New Cases January 24: 3,912
- New Deaths January 24: 22
- January 24’s Positivity Rate: 33.06%
- Current Hospitalizations: 2,326
- Current Intensive Care Admittances: 440
- Currently on Ventilators: 257
During the week’s end January 23, Kentucky reported 81,473 new cases, more than 9,000 more cases than the previous record set the week before. Also, during the week ending Jan. 23, Kentucky’s average positivity rate was 33.1%, nearly four points higher than the previous record set the week before.
Kentucky is still setting new records for both COVID-19 test positivity rate and new cases. Total COVID-19 hospitalizations are near the all-time peak during the delta surge and many hospitals in Kentucky are struggling.
So far, for every major strain of this virus, the vaccines have provided very high protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death.
Dr. Stack said for percentage of fully vaccinated people with a booster dose, in both adults 65 and older and adults 18 and older, Kentucky is leading Region 4 and is higher than the national average in both categories.
Dr. Stack added that everyone can help the health care workers and hospital system by not going to an emergency room just to get a COVID test. This overwhelms the emergency care system and makes the situation worse.
Governor Beshear provided an update related to the deadly tornadoes that occurred this past December. Governor Beshear reminded Kentuckians that the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund will next be used to add 20% on top of what the Federal Emergency Management Agency awards in individual assistance for uninsured homeowners and renters impacted by the storms.
He said that, to date, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration have approved nearly $36 million in total federal assistance for survivors. This includes more than $10.7 million in FEMA assistance approved for individuals and households, including more than $7.6 million for housing assistance and more than $3 million for other disaster-related needs. Nearly $25 million in SBA disaster loans has been approved for homeowners, renters and businesses. The Governor reminded those who need to apply for FEMA assistance to do so by Friday, Feb. 11. To apply visit disasterassistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.
Regarding debris removal, the Governor said the extreme damage caused by the tornadoes will take a long time to rebuild. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that more than 4.6 million cubic yards of debris existed and more than 1.1 million cubic yards have been removed for a total of approximately 24.5% debris removed thus far.
“Remember, we’ve got to dig in knowing that this is going to take a lot of time because of how destructive these storms are. Let’s not get frustrated, and let’s not attack those that are out there cleaning it up,” said Governor Beshear. “It’s the level of damage that creates the length of debris removal. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates more than 4.6 million cubic yards of debris and that is like nothing that most – of even them – have ever seen before.”
The Governor said that Kentucky State Parks are continuing to provide housing and food services for 352 displaced Kentuckians and 58 first responders. Anyone who would like to volunteer to help should contact Andy Kasitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Governor also said that FEMA has approved direct temporary housing assistance in six Kentucky counties: Caldwell, Graves, Hopkins, Marshall, Muhlenberg and Warren. FEMA is contacting survivors in these counties who applied for assistance and may be eligible for direct temporary housing options.