One year into the COVID-19 pandemic in Kentucky about 10% of the population has contracted the virus and more than 5,000 people have died, but the tide has shifted, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.
The commonwealth has now surpassed nine weeks of declining cases and more than one million Kentuckians have received a first dose of a vaccine that humanity only dreamed of one year ago.
“We are going to emerge, I think, with a bright future and sprinting ahead but we are going to emerge scarred people,” Beshear said at Monday’s coronavirus press briefing. “We don’t go through something like this without carrying some of it with us.”
That’s the number of Kentuckians who have already received one dose of the vaccine. On Monday, Beshear said his administration will work to make sure every Kentuckian is eligible for a vaccine ahead of the May 1 deadline President Joe Biden set for the entire country.
Last week, the state hit a new record administering shots to 142,166 new Kentuckians. Beshear said that momentum will continue, though the state isn’t likely to see that record again as the number was boosted this week by using up the state’s supply already in hand.
“Which means we should be near 100% efficient as we move forward,” Beshear said.
Still, the state continues to lag in racial equity for vaccine access. While Black Kentuckians make up around 8% of the state’s population, they’ve received only around 5% of the shots administered. That figure has improved slightly, though Beshear acknowledged Monday the state is not closing the gap fast enough.
That’s the number of Kentuckians Beshear reported on Monday have died from COVID-19.
However, Beshear announced in early March that the state likely underreported the true toll of the deadliest months of the pandemic and the state is now working on an audit to ensure every death is counted. Beshear said Monday that he believes a portion of the audit will be completed later this week.
Meanwhile, a look at the death certificates recorded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates at least 6,352 Kentuckians have died of COVID-19.
Beshear has repeatedly said the state has worked through its own backlog of unreported deaths, but of the 23 reported Monday, several had occurred in January and at least one was from November. Beshear did not explain the late reports.
That’s the total number of probable and confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Kentucky, though the true number is likely higher.
It was one year ago on March 6 the state identified the first case in Kentucky, and in just about a year, it has infected around 10% of the population, Beshear said
For the last nine weeks, cases have declined. On Monday Beshear reported 396 new cases. There was a time when every single county in the state was reporting uncontrolled spread of the virus with more than 25 cases per 100,000 residents. On Monday, only eight of the state’s 120 counties remain in the “red zone.”