New cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky continue to trend downwards alongside declining test positivity rates and hospitalizations.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,003 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky on Monday, which is the smallest daily total since Dec. 26, and before that, October. Beshear said the latest numbers cap off four weeks of declining cases — a first in the pandemic.
“This is the first time we have seen a decrease and from the top, even a significant decrease,” Beshear said.
The state’s test positivity rate continued to improve and is now below 8%. Uncontrolled spread of the virus is now reported in 95 counties, which, while not great, is an improvement. For months, nearly all of Kentucky’s 120 counties have reported uncontrolled spread, which occurs when active cases top 25 per 100,000 residents.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19, in intensive care, and on ventilators is also decreasing. That’s leaves only two hospital regions in what the state describes as “the red zone” — with ICU beds 80% full, or fuller.
However, the state still announced 40 deaths on Monday, some which happened in January, and one of which occurred in December.
Beshear cautioned that while the state has made substantial progress, the virus is still spreading.
“Just because things are moving in the right direction, doesn’t mean they aren’t too hot. They are too hot,” he said.
On vaccinations, Beshear said more than 10% of the state has now received at least one dose. However, the rollout has not been equitable so far.
While Black Kentuckians make up around 8% of the state’s population, they’ve only received about 4% of the vaccinations. Beshear said that was because of a number of factors including the underrepresentation of Black people in healthcare and education professions. Those groups have been among the first to receive vaccinations.
Beshear pledged to make the demographic data available each week and said he would work to improve equity and accessibility in the vaccine rollout.
“I think when you are committed to doing it right and you are willing to be intentional, and mainly you are willing to listen, then you see results,” he said.