Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday that COVID-19 cases are continuing to drop in Kentucky, though deaths remain high due to surges over the past several weeks.
Beshear reported 2,500 new cases on Thursday. Four weeks ago, the daily total was nearly 5,000.
The test positivity rate dropped to 8.37%, the lowest in over a month. Beshear said the steady decline shows the state is limiting spread.
“If we stay on this track, we’re going to have fewer cases this week than we did last week, which will give us four straight weeks, for the first time of this pandemic, with declining cases,” he said.
Despite improvements elsewhere, the daily death toll remains high, with 58 new deaths reported Thursday. The death total for Kentucky now sits at 3,921.
On Jan. 22, Beshear placed flags at the Capitol to memorialize the more than 3,000 Kentuckians who died from COVID-19. That figure has since increased by nearly 1,000.
“Going from 3,000 to 4,000 so quickly is a trend that we have to stop,” Beshear said. “We certainly need to slow it down. Each and every one of you can help by doing your part.”
Of the 58 deaths on Thursday, only 18 were residents of long-term care facilities. That population previously accounted for about 66% of all deaths in the state.
“It shows you that our prioritization of individuals in long-term care for vaccination is working, and it’s saving lives,” Beshear said.
Beshear announced four new regional vaccination sites, two of which are part of the state’s partnership with Kroger. The two Kroger sites will be at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington and Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green.
Two additional regional sites are opening at Murray State University and the T.J. Health Pavilion in Glasgow. Beshear said the regional sites are part of a plan to ensure no Kentuckian has to drive more than one county away to get vaccinated.
Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said vaccine quantities are improving, with the federal government equipping vaccination sites with three weeks’ worth of doses.
“The quantities are insufficient,” Stack said. “The vaccine quantity overall is not enough for the task, but it is still incremental progress.”
Stack said the state will distribute at least 100 doses to each county, or 100 doses per 1% of the statewide population comprised by the county. A separate federal program will ship more than 13,000 doses to pharmacies in Kentucky. Up to 100 Walgreens locations and 50 local, independent pharmacies across the state will receive allocations from the shipment.