Gov. Andy Beshear reported the highest COVID-19 positivity rate the state has seen since October, at 9.13%.

Its rise, Beshear said Monday, is likely due to the highly transmissible delta variant, which was also responsible for a surge in fall. The recently discovered omicron variant has yet to be detected in Kentucky, and testing is still underway to determine its transmissibility, severity and resistance to vaccines. 

Between Saturday and Monday, Beshear said there were 4,891 new COVID cases and 198 new deaths statewide.

The rise in the positivity rate is also reflected in the rise of hospital stays and ICU admissions and use of ventilators. 

“We are certainly not headed in the right direction,” Beshear said. 

He attributed the rise in cases to three things — the delta variant, waning antibodies after initial vaccination and an increase in people gathering.

He urged Kentuckians to get vaccinated and boosted before the holidays. Just over 2.7 million Kentuckians, 61% of all residents, have received at least their first shot. Of those 18 and over, 72% have received at least their first shot.

Aprile Rickert is WFPL's health reporter.